Faculty and Projects

CAFE/Semiconductors | Chemistry & Biochemistry | Mathematics
Microbiology | Physics | Public Health | Statistics


Center for Advanced Semiconductor Fabrication Research and Education (CAFE)

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Roland Kawakami (Physics)
Quantum Materials and Magnetism
The Kawakami lab is working on advancing the state of 2D semiconductors, which are attractive for field effect transistors (FET) for front- and back-end-of-line (FEOL/BEOL) applications since they allow for aggressive device scaling and are amenable to heterogeneous integration. An undergraduate student would work with a graduate student on the deposition and structural characterization of two-dimensional semiconductors, which will be used to create atomically-thin transistors.

Steven Ringel (Electrical & Computer Engineering and Physics)
Electronic Materials and Devices
The Ringel lab is working on advancing next generation integration of semiconductor optical devices with advanced electronics that would enable high-bandwidth, energy-efficient system-to-system and chip-to-chip communications in applications like data centers that require semiconductor photonic devices that can handle high data rates. An undergraduate student could work with a graduate student to use deep level transient spectroscopy (DLTS) to characterize defects in these devices.

Fengyuan Yang (Physics)
Complex Materials and Magnetism
The Yang lab is working on advancing semiconductor device fabrication of wide bandgap devices for power management and non-volatile memory applications creating pathways for multifunctional GaN integration on a Si platform. An undergraduate student would work on deposition of perovskite high-K dielectric and ferroelectric oxide layer on GaN and related nitrides, and characterize the structural and dielectric/ferroelectric properties of those perovskite films.


Chemistry & Biochemistry

For additional information on research in Chemistry & Biochemistry, see:

Analytical Chemistry

Zac Schultz
Raman Spectroscopic Imaging and Trace Detection
The Schultz lab is interested in developing Raman spectroscopy for the identification of chemical species. Applications range from identifying chemicals in living plants to identifying chemical changes in cells and tissue resulting from exposure to radiation. We are also interested in understanding spatially resolved chemical profiles related to biological activity and are actively developing new methods to image molecular properties.


Jane Jackman
Molecular Biology & Enzymes
The Jackman lab investigates the biochemical mechanisms of enzymes that catalyze key reactions during the maturation of the critical non-coding RNA molecule, tRNA. We study enzyme that utilize unusual chemistry for biological reactions, and use the tools of mechanistic enzymology (kinetics, protein engineering, biophysical structural approaches) combined with the power of model organism genetics to make new discoveries about the molecular mechanisms and biological functions of these unusual enzymes in living cells.

Christopher JaroniecBiological NMR Spectroscopy – see below in Physical Chemistry

Dmitri Kudryashov
Proteins and Cell Biology
Research in the Kudryashov lab is focused on the role of the actin cytoskeleton in immunity, cancer, and infectious diseases. The students will learn recombinant DNA cloning, protein purification, and characterization techniques to identify the properties of actin binding proteins leading to congenital disorders, e.g., hearing loss, diaphragmatic hernia, and osteoporosis. Alternatively, pathogenic mechanisms of bacterial toxins affecting the actin cytoskeleton can be explored.

Steffen LindertComputational Biochemistry – see below in Physical Chemistry

Thomas Magliery
Protein Engineering
The Magliery lab studies the sequence basis of protein stability and other physical properties using high-throughput, statistical, and rational approaches. Summer students could participate in fundamental studies in protein stability or in applied protein engineering for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes.

Karin Musier-Forsyth
Molecular Biology & Enzymes
Projects in the Musier-Forsyth lab are focused on characterizing protein-RNA interactions involved in HIV-1 replication and fidelity mechanisms in protein synthesis. Undergraduate students will learn techniques such as protein and RNA purification, enzyme kinetic assays, RNA structure-probing, and characterizing RNA-protein binding interactions.

Dehua Pei
Peptide Chemical Biology
The student will be involved in the synthesis, purification, and biochemical/cellular characterization of macrocyclic peptides as potential therapeutic agents against intracellular protein-protein interactions.

Inorganic Chemistry

Christine Thomas
Research in the Thomas laboratory focuses on the design of functional catalysts using Earth-abundant transition metals for the development of more sustainable and environmentally friendly technology. The summer project will involve the synthesis and characterization of new transition metal complexes and their use as catalysts for both the activation of naturally abundant small molecules (e.g. carbon dioxide, water, oxygen) and/or organic transformations. Over the course of the summer project, students will learn how to synthesize and manipulate air and moisture-sensitive inorganic and organometallic complexes using glovebox and Schlenk techniques, as well as a variety of spectroscopic and analytical methods such as NMR, IR, and UV-Vis spectroscopies and cyclic voltammetry.

Casey Wade
Inorganic Materials and Catalysis
Research in the Wade Lab combines molecular inorganic/organometallic chemistry and materials science. Current projects involve the design of bio-inspired metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) for direct air capture of CO2 capture, small molecule activation, and catalytic C–H functionalization of organic molecules. Students will gain experience in the synthesis and characterization of new transition metal complexes and MOFs. Synthesis plays a central role in our research program, and a variety of solution and solid-state characterization techniques are used to elucidate the structure and properties of newly synthesized materials. These include X-ray diffraction, gas porosimetry, thermogravimetric analysis, cyclic voltammetry, and NMR, IR, and UV-Vis spectroscopies.

Yiying Wu
Solar Energy and Batteries
The research in Yiying Wu’s group focuses on functional materials for energy conversion and storage. The projects include developing solid and liquid electrolytes for Li and K batteries, photoelectrochemistry of semiconductors for solar fuels, and organic-inorganic hybrid materials for quantum materials and spintronics. The students will participate in the design and synthesis of these materials, their structural characterization, and measurements of their properties.

Shiyu Zhang
Inorganic Synthesis and Energy
We are a group of chemists utilizing synthetic inorganic chemistry to tackle unmet challenges at the frontiers of energy storage and energy conversion. Group members can expect to gain experience in the synthesis of organic, inorganic, and organometallic compounds, characterization of air-sensitive/temperature-sensitive complexes, spectroscopy, electrochemistry, and battery fabrication techniques.

Organic Chemistry

Christopher Hadad
Computational Chemistry, Synthesis and Enzymology
The Hadad research team uses computational modeling, organic synthesis and biochemical evaluations to design, synthesize and evaluate the efficacy of novel drug-like compounds for the treatment of organophosphorus poisoning. An undergraduate student could be involved in one of these approaches as part of our research team, perhaps doing computational modeling for the design of novel therapeutics or the synthesis, characterization and biochemical evaluation of individual compounds for in vitro studies.

Psaras McGrier
Organic Materials
Research in the McGrier group focuses on utilizing novel synthetic methods to create functional porous and polymeric materials that can be useful for energy storage, chemical sensing, and catalytic applications. Research in the group relies mostly on organic synthesis with a strong focus on utilizing organic spectroscopy (i.e., NMR, IR, and UV-Vis), powder x-ray diffraction, and molecular modeling to characterize and understand the electronic and catalytic properties of our materials.

Physical Chemistry

Philip Grandinetti
Material Science and NMR
Undergraduate students working with Professor Grandinetti will apply multi-dimensional NMR spectroscopy and machine learning to extract structural distributions in glasses. These distributions reveal details on modifier cation clustering, ionic transport, the mixed alkali effect, chemical strengthening, and phase separation in glasses. Such insights help glass scientists and engineers working on the next generation of specialty glasses, impacting diverse applications such as handheld electronic devices, displays, optical fibers, glass substrates for lighting, bio-glass implants, and nuclear waste storage.

Christopher Jaroniec
Biological NMR Spectroscopy
One of our current major projects deals with providing a molecular and structural basis of the amyloid strain and transmissibility barrier phenomena for a family of mammalian Y145Stop prion protein variants. To this end we are undertaking the structural studies of supramolecular amyloid fibril aggregates composed from these proteins by using advanced multidimensional solid-state NMR spectroscopy techniques supplemented by additional biochemical and biophysical experiments. Other major research directions in the group involve studies of chromatin structure and dynamics by solid-state NMR, and the development of new solid-state NMR methods for protein structure determination based on paramagnetic tagging.

Bern Kohler
Ultrafast Laser Spectroscopy
The Kohler Group has projects for undergraduates interested in physical chemistry, materials chemistry and nanoscience. Specifically, the group uses time-resolved spectroscopy to study biological and bioinspired molecules and materials. The ubiquitous melanin pigments have desirable optoelectronic properties that are difficult to mimic because the atomistic structure of melanin is unknown. An undergraduate researcher is needed to study supramolecular structure formation in synthetic melanins using fluorescence. In a second project, an undergraduate researcher will measure the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated when DNA or melanin nanoparticles are irradiated by light.

Steffen Lindert
Computational Biochemistry
Knowledge of protein structure is paramount to the understanding of biological function and for developing new therapeutics. Mass spectrometry experiments which provide some structural information, but not enough to unambiguously assign atomic positions have been developed recently. These methods offer sparse experimental data, which can also be noisy and inaccurate in some instances. We are developing integrative modeling techniques, computational modeling with mass spec data, that enable prediction of protein complex structure from the experimental data.

Alexander Sokolov
Computational Chemistry and Theory
Summer projects in the Sokolov group will focus on computer simulations of excited states and spectra of molecules and materials with complicated electronic structure. Students will use state-of-the-art quantum chemical methods to understand properties of molecules and materials important in photochemistry and catalysis. Students will also use computer programming to analyze the results of calculations and will have an opportunity to participate in the development of new theoretical methods.



For additional information on research in Mathematics, see:

Maria Angelica Cueto
Tropical Interpolation
Classical interpolation questions in planar geometry involve finding algebraic curves in the plane (zeroes of a polynomial in two variables) passing through a given finite set of points with prescribed multiplicity conditions. For example, there is a unique line through 2 points, a unique cubic through 5 points, etc. The same question can be asked about piecewise linear curves, also known as tropical plane curves. The goal of this project is to developed a program involving GUI (graphic-user interface) to explicitly draw and write down these curves. No knowledge of algebraic plane curves or tropical geometry is required, prior familiarity with linear algebra will suffice. Coding skills in a programming language supporting GUI (eg. C++, Python or Java) are essential for participating in this project.

Ghaith Hiary
Computational Number Theory
We will use computational methods to study “arithmetic biases” in the prime numbers. The prime numbers are the building blocks of all the natural numbers using multiplication. A highly successful approach to understanding the primes is to model them using random variables that are fair. “Bias” occurs when the actual behavior of the primes does not conform to our fair random model. Examples of this include the so-called Chebychev bias and, more generally, prime number races. And there are other surprising examples discovered in the last few years. The discovery of such biases is interesting because the well-known Riemann hypothesis tells us that the primes should in a sense be randomly behaved. Prior familiarity with elementary number theory and some mathematical software would be useful, but not essential.



For additional information on research in Microbiology, see:

Kou-San Ju
Natural Products Drug Discovery
The Ju lab integrates genomic, metabolomic, biochemical, and genetic methods to accelerate discovery of new microbial natural products and the mechanisms of their biosynthesis. Summer students will employ a combination of these techniques to reveal new chemical diversity encoded within microbial genomes important for drug discovery.

Justin North
The North Lab studies the production of renewable fuels and chemicals by bacteria. Bacteria can convert greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide into needed materials like gasoline and plastic alternatives that reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Students in the lab will learn to grow photosynthetic bacteria and cellulose degrading bacteria engineered for ethylene biofuel production. They will also learn and apply genetic techniques to help further engineer these bacteria by adding enzymes with new or enhanced capabilities. Students will ultimately test for increases in ethylene biofuel production by chromatography and mass spectroscopy techniques to identify engineered bacteria strains suited for industrial-scale renewable biofuel production.

Matt Sullivan
Viral Discovery, Virocells, and Phage Therapy
The Sullivan lab studies viruses of microbes and has a long and strong history of training undergraduate researchers. We have established quantitative viral metagenomic sample-to-sequence pipeline and community-available informatics platforms to analyze such data, expanded our understanding of the global virosphere, and developed approaches to link and explore virus-host interactions. While our research initially focused on ocean viral ecology and evolution, we now apply these approaches to soils, humans, and extreme environments to understand their diversity and impacts, as well as establish them as practical tools for treating disease (e.g., phage therapy).

Daniel Wozniak
Bacterial Pathogenesis and Gene Regulation
The Wozniak’s group research activities are focused on the pathogenesis of several bacteria that cause chronic, devastating infections in humans. In chronic airway infections in people with Cystic Fibrosis or wounds. Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, and Acinetobacter are the most common nosocomial pathogens isolated and are consistently associated with high mortality rates. Resources spent treating such infections in the U.S. are estimated at ~ $25 billion annually. These infections are extremely difficult to control since the bacteria exhibit a biofilm-mode of growth rendering them resistant to antimicrobials and phagocytic cells. Collectively, the research activities are focused on. 1) Understanding the coordinate regulation of the virulence factors that contribute to P. aeruginosa pathogenesis in CF, 2) Understanding the process of biofilm formation, 3) Experimental therapeutics for use in patients infected with P. aeruginosa and MRSA, 4) Defining pathoadaptive processes and evolution of bacteria during infection, and 5) Development and use of a chronic wound infection model to evaluate molecular mechanisms of persistence and potential anti-biofilm therapeutic strategies.



For additional information on research in Physics, see:

Ralf Bundschuh
Bioinformatics and Statistical Physics
The Bundschuh lab studies the interactions between nucleic acid molecules (DNA and RNA) and proteins using computational methods from Statistical Physics and biological sequence analysis. High throughput sequencing has made it possible to obtain exquisitely detailed information on nucleic acids protein interactions but it requires the analysis of large data sets in order to extract biological knowledge from the sequencing data. Students will learn how to perform such data analysis on one (or more) of several experimental collaborators’ data sets and hopefully discover new insights into the Biology involving nucleic acid protein interactions.

Jay Gupta
Ultrafast Laser Spectroscopy
We are constructing a novel instrument to study the laser/matter interaction on ultrafast time scales (10-15s) and with atomic spatial resolution (10-10m). Initial targets will be to study how surfaces are modified under intense laser irradiation, with a goal to image individual atomic vacancies and other defects as a function of laser fluence, time etc.  We have recently been awarded funding from the Air Force Office of Research to purchase components and develop this instrument. During the summer, we anticipate completing the system integration. Anticipated work items will be to characterize the performance of the ultrahigh vacuum chamber that houses the instrument, atomic resolution imaging of test surfaces to characterize microscope noise performance, testing of optical components, general lab setup, other component purchasing and CAD hardware drawings to confirm system integration. We anticipate that the summer REU student would work closely with a team of 2-3 other students, both graduate and undergraduate. We would also encourage the REU student to take advantage of professional development opportunities provided through the universities’ SROP program, and the Physics Departments’ CEM REU program. These include report writing, presentation, preparation for graduate school etc. These ongoing programs also provide a network and community for summer students outside of the lab.

Michael Poirier
Chromatin Biophysics and Single-Molecule Spectroscopy
The Poirier lab investigates the physical properties of the human genome and how these properties regulates gene expression. Undergraduate Students will participate in studies that could include the preparation of DNA-protein complexes that mimic how genomic DNA is organized in chromatin, preparation and application of DNA origami nano devices for studying chromatin structural dynamics, and application of single molecule fluorescence and force measurements to characterize chromatin structure dynamics and function.


Public Health

For additional information on research in Public Health, see:


Patrick Schnell
Covariate Selection Methods for Estimation of Treatment Effect in Randomized Studies
In successfully randomized studies the effect of treatment can be estimated without bias by the association between the treatment and the outcome without adjusting for any other variables. Various methods for choosing how many and which covariates to adjust for have been proposed, but evaluations of the performance of many such methods have not been made in the context of randomized studies. The student will learn how to search published literature to determine which methods are used, and how to use R to produce simulated datasets and evaluate the performance of candidate variable selection methods. If time and interest permit, the student may produce an interactive R shiny application to compare methods under different assumptions.


Aldenise Ewing
Cancer Health Equity
Dr. Ewing’s research is designed to reduce cancer health inequities by promoting cancer education and increasing access to cancer screenings for underserved and minority communities by leveraging Community-Based Participatory Research. For a summer project, students may learn from meetings with community stakeholders, engage in literature reviews for manuscript development and publication, research study design, instrument development, and/or data collection and analyses.

Amy Ferketich
Substance Use in Low-Income Populations
My research focuses on tobacco control, including smoking cessation, tobacco use surveillance, tobacco policy and tobacco regulatory science. A project that I co-lead is a smoking cessation intervention for women who receive medical care at any of the 10 healthcare systems participating in our project. These systems are located in the Appalachian regions of Ohio, Virginia, Kentucky and West Virginia. I am also co-leading a project related to hookah smoking among young adults. Both of these projects are funded by the National Cancer Institute. I am also actively involved with several projects funded by the Ohio Department of Medicaid, including the Ohio Medicaid Released Enrollees Study, the Ohio Medicaid Assessment Survey, the Ohio Medicaid Community Engagement Evaluation, and the Interviews of Mothers on Medicaid. These projects serve to inform the programmatic goals of the Ohio Department of Medicaid. I have examined many outcomes in these studies, but the main focus has been on tobacco and other substance use.

Parvati Singh
Racial and Socio-Economic Disparities in Psychiatric Care and Outcomes
I study how ambient or macro-social phenomena (such as economic recessions) and policy or programmatic changes (e.g. new health or social policy, cash transfers) impact mental health outcomes in a population. I am particularly interested in how these exposures influence racial and socio-economic disparities in psychiatric services utilization, deaths of despair (suicides, overdose, alcohol use-related mortality). Some of my key research findings thus far include the following: (1) populations, on average, increase risk-averse behaviors during ‘difficult’ times (e.g. during economic recessions), but these aggregate trends mask increased adverse psychiatric outcomes among vulnerable groups (such as low-income children and racial minorities), (2) improved socio-economic status in vulnerable groups (e.g. American Indian/Alaska Native) corresponds with increased optimism about the future, and (3) populations under stress exhibit scapegoating behavior where they target racial minorities for socially sanctioned micro-aggressions (e.g. involuntary psychiatric commitments).

Jeffrey Wing
Neuroepidemiology and Stroke Research
Dr. Wing’s research is focused on neuroepidemiologic outcomes including stroke, dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. He is particularly interested in how aspects of the physical and the social environment influence the risk of neurologic diseases, and how measurement of these outcomes vary by geography. Current projects include: how measurement of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias vary by geography in the Central Appalachian region of the United States and the evaluation of the density of post-stroke social service resources in Ohio. For a summer project students will participate in regular research team meetings, conduct literature reviews and manuscript development, and may conduct data analyses.



For additional information on research in Statistics, see:

Mario Peruggia (with Shaddrick Addy from Design)
Quantitative Approaches for the Design and Evaluation of Virtual Reality Experiences
This is an ongoing project which received initial funding through an Interdisciplinary Research Pilot Award from the OSU Translational Data Analytics institute. The goal of the project is to develop quantitative methods for evaluating virtual reality (VR) experiences (especially experiences that have beneficial implications for society), leading to a data-driven approach to inform VR design based on user decisions. This data-driven approach will supplement the current reliance on user survey responses. As an example, our project is currently evaluating and improving the design of a VR experience called Eyes of Mariam developed by Addy. This is an embodied interactive experience that follows the journey of Mariam, an African teenage girl, who faces traumatic events that threaten her goal of getting an education. The experience is being developed to raise awareness, promote advocacy, and encourage policy changes concerning children’s rights in war-prone African regions. The student participating in this summer project will become a member of an interdisciplinary team led at OSU by a VR designer (Professor Addy) and a statistician (Professor Peruggia). The team leadership also includes Professor Deborah Kunkel, a statistician at Clemson University. OSU graduate students in both Design and Statistics are actively contributing to the project. No specific expertise in any of the areas of the project is expected. To benefit from participating in the program and to be able to complete the project successfully, the applicant should possess good quantitative skills and some programing expertise in a language such as R or Mathematica. VR experiences are developed using the Unity programing environment, but no prior knowledge of Unity is expected.