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GRA positions

A graduate student’s principal objective is to earn a graduate degree. Appointment as a Graduate Research Associate (GRA) contributes to that objective by providing an apprenticeship experience along with financial support. This apprenticeship complements formal instruction and gives the student practical, personal experience that can be gained only by performing research activities.

GRA positions provide a number of benefits to the student:

  • Full payment of tuition and academic fees,
  • A monthly stipend typically provided on 12 month cycles,
  • 85% payment of OSU Student Health Insurance premiums for the student,
  • Payment of computer technology fee as well as laboratory fees,
  • Payment of research-related expenses,
  • Travel costs for conference and research-related expenses may also be provided,
  • Total value of this package can be nearly $60,000 per year.
  • Further information about GRA appointments and benefits. Includes a basic description of benefits as well as a Benefit Overview Booklet for download.

[Students are responsible for 15% of health insurance premiums as well as student-related fees. These fees total roughly $450 per four-month term. This amount is divided in fourths and payroll-deducted per monthly pay over the course of a four-month semester so that the student does not need to pay a large up-front fee each term.]

In exchange for these benefits the student serves on a research project available in the program. As part of the GRA agreement, the student agrees to assist his/her advisor with research work. This commitment comes to, on average, approximately 20 hours per week, though this may vary from time to time. The research project Principal Investigator will serve as the student's academic and research advisor. More about finding an advisor, below.

Please note: Since research carried out for a government and/or industrial organization is usually focused on a topic of concern to the funding source, we cannot guarantee that a student's area of interest will always match the available GRA positions for a given term.

The GRA position is our primary form of financial aid [more about financial aid in the MSE-WE department].

Current GRA openings

Provides number of openings, graduate program (MSE or WE), funding status, position description, and contact info for primary investigator(s).

Sheikh Akbar & Patricia Morris

Sheikh Akbar: web & email | Phone: 614-292-6725 | Office: 295 Watts Hall

  • Professor, (Ph.D., Purdue University, 1985); Ceramic materials, energy applications, sensors.

Patricia Morris: web & email | Phone: 614-247-8873 | Office: 298 Watts Hall

  • Professor (Ph.D., Massachusetts Inst. of Tech., 1986); Optimization of materials properties by processing to obtain unique defect, surface, nano- and micro- structures; development of new materials and devices.

1 PhD, MSE, funding confirmed--seeking students with degrees in Materials Science & Engineering, Physics, Chemistry or Electrical Engineering--"Advancing understanding of semiconducting oxide nano-heterostructure gas sensors" 
A recent surge in nanomaterials research has developed many novel methods for synthe-sizing semiconducting oxides into nanostructures, especially with combinations of mate-rials into a single structure, termed a nano-heterostructure. However, the focus on new synthesis methods has led to a largely trial-and-error approach toward materials discovery for gas sensor applications with little fundamental understanding of the underlying mechanisms. The primary focus of this research is to develop and publish a comprehensive and unifying model for interactions of gases with nano-heterostructures that will provide a framework which enables the rest of the field to more effectively design new structures and ultimately accelerate their implementation into devices. This project seeks fundamental knowledge from proven sensor materials engineered into nano-heterostructures by (1) using state-of-the-art high-resolution electron microscopy techniques to evaluate the electronic structure and properties of these materials on an individual nanoparticle basis; (2) utilizing electrical measurements on single nanowires and clusters of nanowires to separate contributions of interfaces from the bulk and mapping the effects of each oxide constituent as a function of environmental conditions; and (3) building a model of the electronic interactions at the gas-oxide and oxide-oxide interfaces truly representative of nanomaterials and not based on bulk ideal properties. Additionally, an open-access on-line database is being constructed of resistive-type gas sensor published results to aid researchers in the field in identifying trends in materials properties and disseminating important results, as well as helping industries to identify the most promising technologies for a specific application.

Peter Anderson

Contact: web & email | Phone: 614-292-0176 | Office: 492 Watts Hall

  • Professor (Ph.D., Harvard University, 1986); Mechanical properties and underlying physics of deformation, with applications to metals, shape memory alloys, nanostructured materials, and tissue scaffolds. Computational methods for mechanical behavior.

1 PhD, MSE, funding confirmed--"Fundamental investigations of shape memory alloys for high temperature applications"
This project will involve computational modeling/simulations to understand how the properties of new high temperature shape memory alloys are derived from a microstructure that involves nanoscale precipitates and a defect structure that is "trained" into the material. The project involves a close collaboration with experimental studies in microscopy and offers the opportunity to work on experiments in mechanical testing to support the computational modeling. 
Background: open to various science/engineering backgrounds; available for US citizens or international students

Tyler Grassman

Contact: web & email | Phone: 614-398-0420 | Office: 278 Watts Hall

  • Research Assistant Professor, dual standing in MSE and Electrical and Computer Engineering

1 PhD, MSE, funding not yet confirmed--Project will research areas of interest in epitaxy, fabrication, and characterization of optoelectronic, photovoltaic, and photocatalytic materials and devices. Please contact Dr. Grassman for details concerning this position.
Background: US citizenship or green-card useful, but not necessarily required. Some background/knowledge in semiconductors helpful, but not necessarily required.

Jianjun Guan

Jianjun Guan: web and email | Phone: 614-292-9743 | Office: 491 Watts Hall

  • Associate Professor (PhD, Zhejiang University, 2000); biomaterials, tissue engineering

4 PhD, MSE, funding confirmed--Project titles:

  • Control of Cardiac Fibrosis to Prevent Cardiac Function Deterioration
  • Polymeric electron paramagnetic resonance probes for real-time monitoring of tissue vascularization
  • Biomimetic cardiac patch capable of rapid angiogenesis

Please contact Dr. Guan for details on these projects.

Jinwoo Hwang

Contact: web & email | Phone: 614-643-3459 | Office: 111 CEMAS

  • Assistant Professor (Ph.D., Un of Wisconsin, 2011); Structure-property relationship in functional materials (oxide interfaces, semiconductors, solar cells); structure and deformation of disordered materials.

1 PhD, MSE, funding not yet confirmed--"Experimental and computational electron microscopy of functional materials"

Jenifer Locke

Contact: web & email | Phone: 614-292-5868| Office: 546 MacQuigg Labs

  • Assistant Professor (Ph.D., University of Virginia, 2010); Corrosion and environmental fracture/cracking of metals and alloys, thermo-mechanical processing effects on corrosion and environmental cracking.

2 PhD, MSE, funding confirmed--Please contact Dr. Locke for details regarding these positions.

John Lannutti

Contact: web & email | Phone: 614-292-3926 | Office: 448 MacQuigg Labs

  • Professor (Ph.D., University of Washington, 1990); Biomaterials for cancer research. Bio-nanosensing for disease detection. Smart tissue engineering scaffolds.

2 PhD, MSE, funding not yet confirmed--"Polymer-ceramic composites for smart paint applications"
Optical sensor materials providing positional information for automotive, aerospace and blind applications. Fabrication, optical and TEM characterization.
Background: polymer or ceramic background

David McComb

Contact: web & email | Phone: 614-292-6732 | Office: 388 Watts Hall

  • Professor (Ph.D. Cambridge University, 1990); Electron microscopy characterization of structure, properties, and applications of advanced structural and functional materials.

1 PhD, MSE, funding confirmed--"Electron Microscopy of Strongly Correlated Materials”
In the Center for Emergent Materials (NSF MRSEC), IRG-1 is investigating materials where spin-orbit coupling (SOC) and electron-electron (Coulomb) correlations are of comparable magnitude, and the subsequent emergence of novel electronic phases in those materials. Using chemistry, structure, epitaxial strain and d-electron count, IRG-1 tunes fundamental interactions in 5d based materials to discover new phases and give insight into their novel properties. We are seeking motivated garduate student to work in this multidisciplinary environment to develop and apply electron microscopy methods to probe crystals, thin films and interfaces to drive understanding of novel phenomena in these materials.
Background: Undergraduate qualifactions in MSE, Physics, or solid- state chemistry preferred. 

1 MS or PhD, MSE, funding not yet confirmed, [McComb and Bartlett co-investigators] --"Identification the Key Cellular and Molecular Steps for Proper Dentin–enamel Junction (DEJ) Formation” 
This project focuses on how enamel and dentin bind together with such strength at the dentin-enamel junction (DEJ) and to use that knowledge for the eventual design of therapeutic approaches, such as enhanced biomimetic adhesives. In this project we will carry out in depth comparison of DEJs by genotype using novel Focused Ion Beam (FIB) Milling and scanning/Transmission Electron Microscopy (S/TEM). It is our intention to directly investigate the evolution and maturity of the mineralization process across the DEJ with X-ray energy-dispersive spectroscopy (XEDS) and electron energy-loss spectroscopy (EELS). Contrast in S/TEM High Angle Annular Dark Field (HAADF) images is highly sensitive to atomic mass. Consequently, it will be possible to spatially map the width and homogeneity of the protein-rich basement membrane at the DEJ. We will utilize STEM-XEDS maps to show Ca, P and C distributions to aid the interpretation of the HAADF images. 
Background: UMSE or chemistry background with interest in advanced characterization techniques and biomaterials.

1 PhD, MSE, funding not yet confirmed--"Skyrmions and Spin Textures in Chiral Magnetic Materials” 
The study of skyrmions in chiral magnetic materials is an exciting new research direction in magnetism that spans the range from fundamental science to potential device applications. A skyrmion is a topological spin texture, which can exist as an isolated object within a ferromagnetic (FM) material or form a periodic array, called a skyrmion crystal.
Real-space characterization of magnetic structure provides invaluable confirmation of predictions from theory, and complements topological Hall effect and momentum-space probes like neutron scattering. In this project you will develop and apply imaging methods in the aberration corrected scanning transmission electron microscope to investigate the structure and transport properties on skyrmion structures. In this multidisciplinary project you will work with other experimentalists and theorists to develop our understanding of the physics of skyrmions and potential applications. 
Background: UMSE or physics or solid state chemistry with interest in advanced characterization techniques. 

Rajiv Shivpuri

(Dept. of Integrated Systems Engineering)

Contact: Bio | Phone: 614-292-7874 | Email:

Professor; Manufacturing Processes, Computational Modeling, Intelligent Design of Manufacturing Systems

1 MS or PhD, Welding Engineering, funding confirmed--“Friction Stir Extruded Tubing” funded by the National Center: Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow (LIFT). Requires experience in CAD as well as FEM simulations.

Henk Verweij

Contact: web & email | Phone: 614-247-6987 | Office: 291 Watts Hall

  • Professor (Ph.D. Eindhoven University); Membrane technology, insulating materials, and defect chemistry of nonstoichiometric materials.

1 MS or PhD, MSE, funding not yet confirmed--please contact Dr. Verweij for details about these projects.

Finding an advisor

For newly admitted students:

The MSE dept. does not assign new students to an advisor; instead, we ask that you meet with each of the faculty who have openings. The professor you work with will act as your academic and research advisor during your graduate studies at Ohio State.

Above, please find the list of available funded research positions. Please meet first with faculty who have openings in your area(s) of interest. If, after meeting with these professors, you do not have an advisor, please meet with the remaining faculty on the list who have openings and come to an agreement to work with one of these faculty. Important: You are required to find an advisor from the funded openings available in the department. This should occur during your first term of enrollment.

You are strongly encouraged to contact any faculty member above who shares your field of interest. Contacting the faculty prior to your arrival on campus can help speed your placement on a research project.

Every effort is made to match you with a project in your field of interest. However, we have only a few positions, each of which has a narrow research focus. Therefore, you may find that the area of research you will be working in is not an exact match with your interests.

When you have found an advisor, inform the department Human Resources Officer in 176 Watts Hall and Mark Cooper in 143 Fontana Lab.