Natassia Brenkus, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Dept. of Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering


Natassia Brenkus’s professional webpage

Natassia Brenkus earned her undergraduate, masters and doctoral degrees, all in Civil Engineering, from the University of Florida. Her main research interests include prestressed and post-tensioned concrete design and long-term performance, structural durability and behavior and computational modeling. Natassia’s expertise comes from her past work experiences, which include her time as a design engineer at Commercial Metals Co., as a structures research lab intern at the Marcus H. Ansley Structures Research Center and as a graduate research assistant at the University of Florida. Currently, Natassia is an assistant professor in Ohio State’s Department of Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering.


Lisa Burris, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Dept. of Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering


Lisa Burris’s professional webpage

Lisa Burris is an assistant professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering at The Ohio State University. Before coming to Ohio State, she earned her B.S. in architectural engineering and her M.S. in civil engineering from Kansas State University, as well as her Ph.D. in civil engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. She also gained experience during her time as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology and as a visiting researcher at Ecole des Ponts ParisTech in Champs-sur-Marne, France. Lisa’s area of expertise and continued research is in reducing the environmental impact of cementitious binders while also finding solutions to the many durability issues plaguing reinforced concrete structures.


Osvaldo Campanella, Ph.D.

Professor, Dept. of Food Science and Technology


Osvaldo Campanella’s professional webpage

Dr. Osvaldo Campanella earned his degree in chemical engineering from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina and a Ph.D. in Food Engineering from the University of Massachusetts. After completing his education, Dr. Campanella moved to New Zealand to work in the Department of Food Technology at Massey University. Later in his career, he began work at Purdue University where he continued to work with Food Engineering and Rheology applied to biomaterials. He is currently a professor in The Ohio State University’s Department of Food Science and Technology, and his main areas of focus include food processing and mechanical characterization of biological materials. He provides expertise in bioproduct processing by extrusion and process modeling.


Katrina Cornish, Ph.D.

Professor, Dept. of Horticulture and Crop Science


Katrina Cornish’s professional webpage 

Cornish Lab website

Katrina Cornish’s career began at the University of Birmingham, UK where she earned a B.Sc (1st class honors) in biological sciences and a Ph.D. in plant biology. Since then, she has become a world-renowned rubber expert who provides expertise in rubber composite development, characterization and commercialization. Dr. Cornish’s research and leadership provides the foundation for the alternate rubber industry, which involves efforts to develop alternative natural rubber crops. Currently, Katrina serves as the Ohio Research Scholar/ Endowed Chair of Bioemergent Materials at The Ohio State University and CEO of EnegeryEne, Inc., as well as other start-up companies. She is also a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.


Pelagia-Iren Gouma, Ph.D.

Orton Chair, Professor, Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering


Pelagia Iren-Gouma’s professional webpage

Pelagia Iren-Gouma is a world-renowned researcher and instructor in the field of materials science and engineering. She currently serves as the director of the Advanced Ceramics Research Laboratory at Ohio State and as a joint professor of materials science and engineering and a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering. Dr. Gouma earned her B.S. in applied physics from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, her Master of Science in materials science and engineering and her Master of Philosophy in organizational management from the University of Liverpool. She also earned her Ph.D. in materials science and engineering from the University of Birmingham, UK. Before coming to Ohio State, Dr. Gouma worked in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Texas-Arlington, as well as at the State University of New York-Stony Brook for 16 years as a faculty member and as Director of the Center for Nanomaterials and Sensor Development.

Dr. Gouma’s many accomplishments include the fact that she has authored or co-authored over 130 articles in peer-reviewed journals and has 18 patents involving nanomaterials, photocatalysts, sensors, and breathalyzers. She is also an elected member of the National Academy of Inventors, received the Richard M. Fulrath Award of The American Ceramic Society in 2013, was a 2008 Fulbright Scholar, and has been named a fellow by the National Center for Electron Microscopy (NCEM). Her research focuses on the field of ceramic engineering, particularly the synthesis, characterization, and functional properties of metal oxides for biomarker, environmental, industrial, and medical applications.


Emmanuel Hatzakis, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Dept. of Food Science and Technology


Emmanuel Hatzakis’s professional webpage

Emmanuel Hatzakis holds a BSc in chemistry, an MSc in organic chemistry and a Ph.D. in food analysis from the University of Crete in Greece. His professional background includes time spent as a postdoctoral Research Associate at The University of Arizona’s College of Pharmacy, as a Research Associate Professor at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and as the NMR Director at Pennsylvania State University. Currently, he is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Food Science and Technology at The Ohio State University. His area of expertise is in the application of liquid/solid state NMR spectroscopy in structure determination and metabolomics. His work also focuses on producing natural plasticizing and crosslinking agents for bioplastics.


Dennis Heldman, Ph.D.

Professor, Dept. of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering


Dennis Heldman’s professional webpage

Dennis R. Heldman is the Dale A. Seiberling Endowed Professor of Food Engineering at The Ohio State University. His responsibilities include teaching and research in the area of food engineering, with a focus on sustainability of the food system, and specifically on improvement in process efficiencies while enhancing product quality.  He has held faculty positions at Michigan State University, the University of Missouri and Rutgers and The State University of New Jersey.  He has authored or co-authored key references in his field of study, including Food Process Engineering (1975, 1981), Introduction to Food Engineering (1984, 1993, 2001, 2008, 2014), Principles of Food Processing (1997) and Food Preservation Process Design (2011).  In addition, Heldman has been editor or co-editor for the Handbook of Food Engineering (1992, 2007, 2019), the Encyclopedia of Agricultural, Food and Biological Engineering (2003, 2010) and the Encyclopedia of Biotechnology in Agriculture and Food (2012).  Heldman’s past roles also include his time as Vice President of Process Research and Development at the Campbell Soup Co, as Executive Vice President of Scientific Affairs for the National Food Processors Association, as CEO for The National Food Laboratory, as President of The Food Processors Institute and as a Principal at the Weinberg Consulting Group Inc.  He has been active in professional organizations as President of IFT, the Society for Food Science and Technology. Heldman has been elected Fellow of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, Fellow of the IFT and Fellow of the International Academy of Food Science & Technology. He is the recipient of the Life Achievement Award from the International Association for Engineering and Food, the Food Freezing Award from the Frozen Food Foundation, the Carl R. Fellers Award from IFT, the Harold Macy Award from the Minnesota section of IFT and the 2018 Nicholas Appert Award from IFT. His educational background includes B.S. and M.S. degrees from The Ohio State University and a Ph.D. from Michigan State University.


Nan Hu, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Dept. of Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering


Nan Hu’s professional webpage

Nan Hu, an assistant professor of structural engineering at The Ohio State University, has extensive experience in harnessing mechanical instability to design multifunctional materials for biomedical devices. He provides expertise in design and fabrication of construction materials. Dr. Hu began his career with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Hunan University in China. He went on to earn a master’s degree in civil engineering from Central South University in China and a master of science degree in engineering mechanics from Michigan State University. He finished up his academic career by earning a Ph.D. in civil engineering from Michigan State and moving on to be a postdoctoral research fellow at Dartmouth before entering his current position.


Kurt Koelling, Ph.D.

Professor, Dept. of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering


Kurt Koelling’s professional webpage

Kurt Koelling earned his B.S. degree from the University of Missouri-Rolla and his doctoral degree from Princeton University. He is currently a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at The Ohio State University. His expertise lies in the areas of polymer fluid dynamics and polymer melt rheology, as well as in polymer rheological characterization, processability improvement and film processing.


David Nagib, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Dept. of Chemistry and Biochemistry


David Nagib’s professional webpage

David Nagib earned a B.S. in chemistry from Boston College and a Ph.D. from Princeton University. He continued developing his expertise by working as a NIH postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, Berkeley before entering his current role as an assistant professor in The Ohio State University’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry where he leads a team of other chemists. David is an expert in organic chemistry with extensive experience in chemically modifying and functionalizing both complex and simple chemical feedstocks. He also provides expertise in bioplastic chemical modification.


Judit Puskas, Ph.D.

Professor, Dept. of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering


Judit Puskas’s professional webpage

Judit Puskas’s Engineering Research Group webpage

Judit E. Puskas is a prominent figure in the world of polymer science and engineering. Her illustrious career began at the Technical University of Budapest, Hungary where she earned a degree in chemical engineering and continued on to earn a Ph.D. in plastics and rubber technology from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Dr. Puskas gained professional experience in polymer research and development during her time working in the microelectronic, paint and rubber industries. Currently, she is interested in the integration of breast reconstruction and cancer research, green polymer chemistry, biomimetic processes and biomaterials, living/controlled polymerizations, polymerization mechanisms and kinetics, thermoplastic elastomers and polymer structure/property relationships and probing the polymer-bio interface. Dr.Puskas’s work has been publishes in over 430 publications, and she is an inventor or co-inventor of 33 U.S. patents and applications. She has also won numerous awards in her field including the 2017 Charles Goodyear Medal, the most prestigious award given by the Rubber Division of the American Chemical Society. Her present role is as a tenured professor in the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering at The Ohio State University.


Ajay Shah, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Dept. of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering


Ajay Shah’s professional webpage

Lab webpage

Ajay Shah earned his B.E. in mechanical engineering from the Institute of Engineering at Tribhuvan University in Nepal, his M.S. in biological engineering from Mississippi State University and his Ph.D. in agricultural and Biosystems engineering from Iowa State University. In his current role as an associate professor at The Ohio State University, he focuses on improving the efficiency, economics and emissions of plant-based food, material and energy production systems. He and the members of his team also do work in the research areas of biomass supply system and logistics, harvest and post-harvest engineering, solid fuel conversion and handling and global food security with focus on providing solutions to smallholder farmers.


Yael Vodovotz, Ph.D.

Professor, Dept. Food Science & Technology

Yael Vodovotz’s professional webpage

Dr. Yael Vodovotz earned her undergraduate degree in Food Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, her Master of Science degree from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver and her doctoral degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She then began her professional career as a postdoctoral fellow at the NASA Johnson Space Center where she worked with the Advanced Life Support food system. Her other professional roles include her time as an Assistant Professor at Baylor Medical School’s National Space Biomedical Research Institute and her current role as a professor of Food Science and Technology at The Ohio State University. Along with her background in food research, Dr. Vodovotz has extensive expertise in thermal, mechanical, structural, and macroscopic analysis and various NMR techniques. This knowledge is critical for structure-property analysis of bio-based materials.