Professor Pelagia-Irene (Perena) Gouma


photo of Professor Perana Gouma Ohio State

Professor, Materials Science and Engineering

Edward Orton Jr., Chair

Watts Hall, Room 284


Education and professional background

  • B.S. in Applied Physics from the Aristotelian University in Thessaloniki Greece
  • M.S. in Materials from the University of Liverpool, UK
  • M.Phil in Organizational Management from University of Liverpool, UK
  • Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Birmingham, UK

Dr. Pelagia-Irene (Perena) Gouma is currently the Edward Orton Jr., Chair in Ceramic Engineering at The Ohio State University. Her previous appointment was with the Institute of Predictive Performance Methodologies (IPPM) and with the MSE Department (tenured Full Professor) at the University of Texas-Arlington. Prior to that, she was a Professor at the State University of New York in Stony Brook for 16 years, and the Founder and Director of the Center for Nanomaterials and Sensor Development (CNSD).

Areas of interest

  • Biomaterials
  • Ceramic material
  • Composite materials
  • Processing/Manufacturing

Area of expertise

  • Sensors

Professor Gouma's reseach

My research activities involve the synthesis and characterization of nanomaterials for bio-/chemical sensors and biotechnology as well as the development of artificial olfaction systems (breath analyzers, electronic noses and tongues). I have established novel and highly successful programs about nanomedicine, with emphasis on the development of non-invasive breath and skin-based diagnostic tools. Other areas of my research include photocatalysts and sorbents for remediating water from fracking operations and self-supported photocatalytic blankets that float on water and produce energy from photochemical water splitting. I have been featured as an expert in nanomaterials, ceramics, sensors, and photocatalysts in numerous press releases (Science Nation, IOP, Science press, NPR, NBC news, Fox news, Fast Company, etc.). and have published over 140 peer-reviewed articles, 18 book chapters and editorials, and a monograph. I own 18 patents (both US and International) and am a member of the National Academy of Inventors. I was a Fulbright Scholar at UNICAMP in Brazil, and received the prestigious Richard M. Fulrath award of The American Ceramic Society. I was the sole Chair of the 2011 ISOEN Conference. 

Professor Gouma's approach to supporting and improving diversity and inclusion

During my academic career, I have focused my efforts on successfully recruiting women and underrepresented minorities in my research group, encouraging them to pursue graduate studies in ceramics and to raise their profile. Through my participation in AAAS’s WISC program and interactions with AGEP and other minority initiatives on campus, I have gained much experience in promoting gender, race, and socioeconomic status equality through my teaching and research practices. 

What you might not know about Professor Gouma

I have a strong faith in God and I used to sing in the Church choir. I love fashion, design, and architecture and make look-books of things that I see and like. When I was growing up in Greece, I dreamed of becoming a scientist, moving to America, traveling the world, and learning how to play the violin. I accomplished the first three goals. My son is learning how to play the violin, which makes me happy. I have worked hard in my life to realize my dreams, and I always try to keep the faith when things do not go my way. My motto is "never give up".