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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 a 12 month cycle,
  • 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 over $70,000 per year.
  • Further information about GRA appointments and benefits.

[Students are responsible for 15% of health insurance premiums as well as student-related fees. These fees total roughly $120 per month. This amount is 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). Due to the on-going nature of funding, this list will be updated as new openings become available. Please check back.


Vicky Doan-Nguyen

Contact: web & email | Phone: 614-643-3465 | Office: 100 CEMAS

  • Assistant Professor (Ph.D., Materials Science and Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, 2015); Electrochemical energy storage Battery components; Sustainability; Advanced electron microscopy and X-ray scattering characterization techniques; Synthesis, characterization, and functional testing of novel materials for electrochemical energy storage applications and heterogeneous catalysis. [more about Dr. Doan-Nguyen's research]

1 PhD position, MSE, funding confirmed--"Synthesis, advanced characterization, and functional testing of novel materials for energy storage" 
Design of novel materials for energy storage requires the combination of controlled synthesis, advanced characterization, and functional testing. A student on this project would lead the development of novel materials for beyond Li-ion energy storage. 


Gerald Frankel

Contact: web & email | Phone: 614-688-4128 | Office: 544 MacQuigg Labs

  • Director, Fontana Corrosion Center (FCC) and Professor (Sc.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1985); corrosion, electrochemistry and embrittlement.

1 PhD position--This position has been filled


Perena Gouma

Contact: web & email | Office: 284 Watts Hall

  • Professor, Orton Chair

1 PhD, MSE, funding confirmed--Please contact Dr. Gouma for details on the project. 

Background: materials science and engineering is required; team players are appreciated. 


Tyler Grassman

Contact: web & email | Phone: 614-688-1704 | Office: 488 Watts Hall

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

2 PhD positions--These positions have been filled


Jianjun Guan

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

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

1 PhD, MSE, funding confirmed--"Biomaterials for Cardiovascular Tissue Regeneration" Engineering of biomaterials for drug and stem cell delivery into ischemic heart and limb. 

Background: MS degree in Polymers


Dennis Harwig

Contact: web and email | Phone: 614-292-6888 | Office: CDME, 1314 Kinnear Rd, Suite 1533

  • Materials & Manufacturing Center (PhD, Cranfield University, 2003); additive manufacturing, manufacturing processes, materials joining tecnology, robotic welding

1-2 MS, WE or MSE, funding not yet confirmed--Topic: Robotic Laser Directed Energy Deposition (DED) Hot Wire Process Development; Computer Aided Robotics of Additive Manufacturing (AM) Processes

Each project involves developing technology in two thrust areas; 1) Computer aided robotics (CAR) for additive manufacturing that involves building CAD / CAM / CAR models and off-line simulation processes for rapid planning DED additive manufacturing operations; and 2) develop and optimize laser DED hot wire process parameters for additive manufacturing of different material system. Pending projects involve developing CAR and AM process technology for A) Ti-6Al-4V for legacy aerospace components, B) tungsten alloy hardfacing of die casting dies, and C) stainless steels for power generation applications.

Background: US citizenship preferred for Ti-6Al-4V project area 


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 position--This position has been filled 


Alan Luo

Contact: web & email | Phone: 614-292-5629 | Office: 137 Fontana Labs

  • Professor (Ph.D., University of Windsor, 1993); advanced metallic materials for transportation applications, manufacturing processes for light metals (Al, Mg, Ti), solidification, and integrated computational materials engineering.

1 PhD position--This position has been filled 


David McComb

Contact: web & email | Phone: 614-643-3462 | Office: CEMAS Facility

  • Professor and Ohio Research Scholar (Ph.D. Cambridge University, 1990), Director, Center for Electron Microscopy and Analysis; Electron microscopy & spectroscopy; electronic materials; magnetic materials; functional oxides; energy materials; biomaterials.

The McComb group is a highly-collaborative and multidisciplinary environment focused on the development and application of state-of-the-art electron microscopy methods to tackle major challenges in a wide range of materials.  Currently we have projects in 2D materials, oxide materials for spintronics, magnetic materials, materials for energy, biomaterials and semiconducting materials.  Students are currently needed in several areas as described below.  Most projects are collaborative with advisors in other disciplines, with students often working in a team. 
Background: A strong interest in advanced materials characterization techniques is essential. Non-MSE and interdisciplinary backgrounds are very welcome.

2 PhD (possibly up to 4), MSE, funding confirmed:

"Skyrmions in B20 and Oxide Heterostructures: A Platform for New Magnetic Memory"
(DARPA - funded)

A new paradigm for high density, energy efficient magnetic information storage is essential to ensure the health of computation and information processing, key foundations of the world’s economy. The magnetic skyrmion, a nanoscale topological excitation in a chiral magnet, offers a compelling candidate classical bit that can be written, read and manipulated. In this collaborative multidisciplinary project you will be involved in a team that is working to unlock technological potential by designing and implementing novel B20 and oxide heterostructure materials systems that stabilize small skyrmions at room temperature in zero or small applied magnetic fields.  You will learn and apply state-of-the-art electron microscopy techniques to image and manipulate skyrmions in these novel materials. 

"Automated Computational Design of Composite Li-ion Battery Electrodes Microstructures"
(NSF - funded)

The research objective of this proposal is to implement an Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) approach to determine the optimal microstructural design of composite electrodes used in lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) in collaboration with Dr. Soheil Soghrati (Dept of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering).  Your role is to develop and apply 3D imaging techniques to understand microstructural evolution in electrode materials.  This involves analysis of data on multiple length scales – from the millimeter to the nanometer scale.  Working with the theory and simulation team, you will utilize these data to inform the development of a predicative model for microstructural evolution.

"Automated Computational Design of Composite Li-ion Battery Electrodes Microstructures"
(NIH – under review)

The dentin–enamel junction (DEJ) is the zone between two distinct calcified tissues with very different biomechanical properties. Generally, interfaces between materials with dissimilar mechanical properties represent “weak links” in a structure. However, the DEJ plays a critical role in enhancing biomechanical integrity and resistance to fracture 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.  You will be responsible for an 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 in 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).  This project will be carried out in collaboration with Dr. John Bartlett (Professor of Biosciences, Associate Dean for Research, College of Dentistry).

"Development of spectroscopic probes for defect states in electronic materials"

Information on bandgaps, defect states, and other electronic transitions, is essential for understanding functionality in electronic materials. Using aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) and electron energy-loss spectroscopy (EELS) provides electronic structure information on the atomic scale. Recent progress in monochromation for STEM-EELS is opening up exciting new opportunities for spatially resolved characterization of electrically active defects with energy levels within the bandgap.  In collaboration with Dr. Tyler Grassman (Materials Science & Engineering) you will lead the exploration of state-of-the-art spectroscopy methods for application to the study of defect states in novel electronic materials.

"Cryo-electron microscopy on the atomic scale"

Over the past 5-10 years there has been nothing short of a revolution in structural biology. Whereas x-ray crystallography has for several decades been the method of choice for highresolution structure determination, several dramatic improvements to cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) have suddenly moved it to the forefront. CryoEM was for many years limited to low resolution (~20Å), but now structures can be determined fairly routinely at atomic resolution (3-4Å), without the need for crystallization or large-scale sample preparation.  OSU will install two new cryo-TEM instruments in 2018.  There is an opportunity for a PhD student with an interest in advanced characterization methods to be involved in a project that seeks to explore how we can take cryo-EM beyond its current limitations to be able to image and resolve even more detail in molecules and biomaterials. 



Heather Powell

Contact: web & email | Phone: 614-247-8673 | Office: 243C Fontana Labs

Associate Professor (Ph.D., The Ohio State University, 2004); Biomaterials, tissue engineering, wound healing, biomechanics.

1-3 PhD positions, MSE, funding not yet confirmed

  • Laser treatment of burn scars
    Examining effect of laser processing on tissue regeneration 
  • Biomaterial-Guided Composite Tissue Regeneration
    Developing materials and systems to induce bone regeneration for limb salvage 
  • Mechanomudolation of fibrosis
    Developing materials and systems to control mechanical environment in the body and guide the healing process. 


Siddharth Rajan

Contact: web & email | Phone: 614-247-7922 | Office: 205 Dreese Labs

Associate Professor (Ph.D., Un of California, Santa Barbara, 2006); Electronic materials

2 PhD positions, MSE, funding confirmed

"High performance semiconductor materials and devices "


Antonio Ramirez

Contact: web and email | Phone: 614-292-8662 | Office: 130 Edison Joining Technology Center

  • Professor (Ph.D., Un of Sao Paulo, Brazil, 2011); Welded/joined metallic materials; arc welding processes; solid state processes; friction stir welding; additive manufacturing.

1 PhD position, WE, funding confirmed--Please contact Dr. Ramirez for details on this project.


Yunzhi Wang

Contact: web & email | Phone: 614-292-0682 | Office: 484 Watts Hall

Professor (Ph.D., Rutgers University, 1995); Phase transformation, plastic deformation, and microstructure – property relationship in structural (Ni-base superalloys and light alloys (Ti, Al, Mg), bulk metallic glass, etc.) and functional (shape memory alloys, ferroelectrics and ferromagnetics) materials.

  • 1 PhD position, funding not yet confirmed--one of two projects:
  • "Development of High Performance of Ni-Base Alloys for Thick Section Gas Turbine Wheels using an Integrated Computational Materials Engineering Approach"
    The drive to increase combined cycle turbine efficiency from approximately 62% to 65% for the next-generation advanced cycle requires the development of a new, high performance heavy duty gas turbine wheel material capable of operating at 1200°F and above. The processing requirements for these large components, combined with elevated temperature and stress property requirements, present a unique set of challenges requiring a new approach to alloy design that will be addressed on this program. This three-year program will utilize the technical concept of controlled co-precipitation which demonstrated recently in the successful collaboration between the Ohio State University and GE Global Research, who will provide critical alloy processing, characterization, and mechanical testing contributions to the program. Two rounds of additional alloy and process assessment, combined with property evaluation and model development, will yield a final alloy that will enable processability of next generation turbines. In concert with this innovative alloy development strategy, a validated set of property models for this new class of alloys will also have been developed. 
    Background: physics, mechanics and/or materials science. Some background in computer programing and applied math are desired. 
  • "Transformation and Deformation Mechanisms in High-Temperatures Shape Memory Alloys with Nano-precipitates"
    The focus of this program is on an emerging class of high temperature shape memory alloys (HTSMAs) that are exciting candidates for actuators and adaptive components in a wide range of energy and transportation applications. At present there is only a rudimentary understanding of the important microstructure-property relationships in these materials. The goals of this effort therefore are to (1) develop a fundamental understanding of the inherent microstructure-property behavior of high temperature shape memory alloys, including the interaction of precipitates with plasticity and martensite, and (2) develop computational models that capture these structure-property relationships and provide novel insights into the important transformation and plasticity mechanisms that govern their behavior. 
    Background: physics, mechanics and/or materials science. Some background in computer programing and applied math are desired. 


Wei Zhang

Contact: web and email | Phone: 614-292-0522 | Office: 120 Edison Joining Technology Center

  • Associate Professor (PhD, Pennsylvania State University, 2004); Computational modeling of materials-processing-property relationship in manufacturing processes; Multi-material joining for automotive and aerospace structures; Advanced experimental techniques in support of computational modeling.

1 MS or PhD positions, WE or MSE, funding not yet confirmed--"Residual stress management for laser cladding repair"
Welding-induced residual stress can have a detrimental effect in terms of accelerating stress corrosion cracking. The overarching goal of the project is to predict and develop experimental tool for in-situ management of residual stress during welding. The project will involve strong collaboration with a nuclear engineering company and a laser applications institute. 

1 PhD position, WE or MSE, funding not yet confirmed--"Modeling and experimental characterization of additive manufacturing"
[1] Optimize the support structure and scan path to mitigate distortion and delamination
[2] Effect of microstructure, defects and recycled powder on mechanical properties of AM'ed parts. 


J.-C. Zhao

Contact: web & email | Phone: 614-292-9462 | Office: 286 Watts Hall

  • Professor (Ph.D., Lehigh University, 1995); 12 year experience at GE with 48 US patents, development of materials property microscopy tools, advanced alloys for biomedical implants, automobiles, steam turbines, gas turbines, and jet engines. 

1 PhD position--this position has been filled


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.