HEMI Fellow Sung Hoon Kang Selected for 2021 U.S. Air Force Research Lab Summer Faculty Fellowship

Sung Hoon Kang, HEMI Fellow, assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and associate researcher at the Institute for NanoBioTechnology, has been selected as a fellow for the 2021 U.S. Air Force Research Lab Summer Faculty Fellowship Program.

The U.S. Air Force Research Lab Summer Faculty Fellowship provides hands-on exposure to Air Force research challenges through 8- to 12-week research residencies at participating Air Force research facilities for full-time science, mathematics, and engineering faculties at U.S. colleges and universities. Kang plans to spend eight weeks at the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) in Dayton, Ohio this summer. He will work with AFRL researchers to design and fabricate programmable aerospace structures that can morph to various shapes in response to dynamically changing mission environments in energy-efficient ways.

Kang’s AFRL project fits in well with his existing research portfolio. Kang and his group study how to control a material’s structure and properties at the nano/micro/macro level in order to develop next-generation materials and mechanical systems. His lab is working on projects including one to identify synthetic pathways for making multifunctional materials with self-adaptable mechanical properties and self-regeneration, which has potential applications to the design and manufacture of new aerospace and biomaterials.

Learn more about the fellowship program here.

Prof. Sung Hoon Kang

HEMI Fellow Susanna Thon Featured in Optics and Photonics News

Susanna Thon, HEMI Fellow and associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has been featured in the Optics and Photonics News in a Q&A about her work, career, and lessons learned.

In the feature, Thon speaks to her passion for mentoring others and emphasizes the importance of networking, communication, and leadership skills for career development. She also provides advice to young scientists who are discouraged about their current career path, shares information she wishes she had early on in her career, and discusses what she has learned through mentorship: as both a mentor and a mentee.

Optics and Photonics News is The Optical Society’s monthly news magazine. It provides in-depth coverage of recent developments in the field of optics, as well as informative pieces on topics from science and society to business. OPN strives to make optics accessible to researchers, engineers, businesspeople and students.

Thon’s work applies techniques from nanophotonics and scalable fabrication to produce devices and materials with novel optical and electrical functionality. Her team is currently working on a number of projects, including the development of plasmonic-photocatalytic systems that use nanoparticles containing aluminum to enhance light absorption in titanium dioxide. Team members are also researching ways to use nanostructured materials, such as colloidal quantum dots and plasmonic metal nanoparticles, to build multicolored, transparent, and next-generation devices.

Read her full Q&A here.

HEMI Graduate Student Suhas Eswarappa Prameela Featured in Science Working Life

Suhas Eswarappa Prameela, a graduate student in HEMI, has been featured in Science Magazine’s Working Life section with an essay about finding his voice on Twitter.

His essay describes how he found value in sharing his experiences on the science side of Twitter. In the beginning, he only tweeted about his research results. One day, out of frustration, he tweeted about the “importance of properly naming research files.” Prameela was retweeted by a high-profile academic account and went viral overnight.

Prameela initially had apprehensions about sharing his experiences online. He said, “Who was I to offer advice? I’m just a PhD student doing my best; I didn’t know whether I was doing anything right myself!” However, after falling into his new-found Twitter fame, he began tweeting regularly about his personal experiences as a PhD student: from navigating authorship conflicts to giving presentations and more.

As a result of his efforts, other students on Twitter have reached out to him, thanking him for his tweets and asking questions. Prameela says that although sometimes he feels “uncomfortable and vulnerable sharing my experiences on a massive global platform, I’ve found it is well worth it. I’ve learned that we are all stronger if we authentically share and connect with one another.”

Science Magazine’s Working Life section features articles that discuss the professional side of science and research, with topics ranging from mentorship to mental health struggles and more. Click here to read the full text of Prameela’s essay.

You can follow Prameela on Twitter (@suhas_prameela) here.

HEMI Fellow Sung Hoon Kang Receives Grant from Bisciotti Foundation Translational Fund

Sung Hoon Kang, HEMI Fellow, assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and associate researcher at the Institute for NanoBioTechnology, has received a grant from the Bisciotti Foundation Translational Fund. The grant funds will go toward developing a 3D-printed medical device that simplifies a complicated vascular procedure.

Established with a generous multiyear gift from the Stephen and Renee Bisciotti Foundation, the fund provides $300,000 annually in seed money to advance Johns Hopkins discoveries on a commercial path. Recipients are awarded from $25,000 and $100,000 to conduct their work during a period of up to nine months. For this year’s funding round, 26 applications were submitted. Six finalists presented their work in late January to an outside panel of researchers, other scientists, and investors.

Kang was one of four faculty members to receive a grant for his project “Vaso-Lock: Replacing Sutures for Faster, Easier, and Safer Microvascular and Vascular Anastomosis.”

Microvascular and vascular anastomosis are highly specialized surgical techniques of hand-sewing together blood vessels during plastic and reconstructive surgery along with many other surgical procedures. While common procedures, they require years of training and practice, and hours to complete in the operating room. Kang, working with a team of vascular and plastic surgeons, used 3D printing to prototype Vaso-Lock, which holds together free vascular ends instead of requiring stitches. The device is made from materials approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and it is biocompatible.

By simplifying a complex surgical technique, the inventors hope to reduce operating time while allowing more vessel coupling during the procedure. The researchers also want to improve patient outcomes and safety, and make microvascular and vascular anastomosis more globally available.

The Vaso-Lock team have also received funding from the Cohen Translational Engineering Fund and the Maryland Innovation Initiative (MII). They participated in the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps program, during which they interviewed 40 surgeons, specialized operating room staff members, and industry workers to identify anastomosis challenges and help refine their business plan.

The team plans to launch a startup to commercialize the innovation.

Excerpted from the Hub >>

Prof. Sung Hoon Kang

Simulations offer new approach for designing high strength metals under high rate loading

Jaafar El-Awady, HEMI Fellow and associate professor of mechanical engineering, has co-authored research that reveals more clues about the microscopic mechanisms that govern the strength of metals.

In the paper recently published in Nature Communications, titled “Strain rate dependency of dislocation plasticity,” El-Awady and team present a new understanding of the effects of strain rate and dislocation density on the deformation behavior of aluminum and cooper.

Metals like aluminum and cooper are commonly used engineering materials, thanks in part to their strength and damage tolerance. Why, then, do metals sometimes deform or break unexpectedly due to stress? Understanding why metal components fail will inform the design of stronger metals, improving their performance in a broad range of applications.

In materials research, the flow strength refers to a material’s ability to resist deformation under an applied load. Metal properties are loading rate sensitive, meaning they react differently across various rates of loading. Dislocations, or line defects, in metals also move and localize under loading, which is a precursor to crack initiation and failure. Thus, researchers hypothesize that dislocation density, or the number of dislocations per unit area in a material, may affect the loading rate sensitivity of the material. However, the relationship between the two mechanisms is still not well understood.

To solve this problem, the team performed a large set of three-dimensional discrete dislocation plasticity simulations to predict the metal yield strength at different initial dislocation densities and strain rates. The simulation results showed that the material response can be divided into two regimes. In one regime, dislocation-dislocation interactions control the material flow strength; in the other, strain rate induced hardening dominates. Additionally, the transition between both regimes is mainly controlled by the dislocation density in the material.

Based on their observations, the team was able to develop a unified law that correlates the material flow strength with the loading strain rate and the initial dislocation density in the material. This unified law is shown to be in excellent agreement with a large set of experimental results from previous studies.

The study provides a fundamental understanding of the co-interaction of different mechanisms in materials and how they influence the material strength, said El-Awady. These findings could help researchers design metals better suited for high strain rate loading applications, by tailoring the initial dislocation density in the material to achieve a desired strength.

In addition to El-Awady, the research team includes first author Haidong Fan, a former Johns Hopkins postdoc and current professor at Sichuan University, Qingyuan Wang, Dierk Raabe, and Michael Zaiser.

Excerpted from the Department of Mechanical Engineering >>

HEMI Fellow Muyinatu ‘Bisi’ Bell Appointed John C. Malone Assistant Professor

Muyinatu Bell, assistant professor in the Departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, and Computer Science, as well as director of the Photoacoustic and Ultrasonic Systems Engineering (PULSE) Lab, has been appointed the John C. Malone Assistant Professor.

The John C. Malone Assistant Professorship was endowed through the generosity of John C. Malone ’64, ’69 to support outstanding Whiting School faculty members within the Malone Center for Engineering in Healthcare.

Bell is internationally recognized for her pioneering work. Her research interests are in medical imaging technology, specifically ultrasound and photoacoustic imaging, photoacoustic-guided surgery, robot-assisted imaging, machine learning for image formation, and other cutting-edge techniques created to significantly advance healthcare interventions and diagnosis.

HEMI Fellow Sung Hoon Kang Highlights Applications for Microactuators in Science Robotics Article

Sung Hoon Kang, HEMI Fellow, assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and associate researcher at the Institute for NanoBioTechnology, has written a focus article about the fabrication of and potential applications for an electrically-controlled shape-memory microactuator that operates in a solution matching the ion concentration of the human body. The article was published in Science Robotics and includes contributions by Kang’s graduate students Mostafa Omar and Bohan Sun.

Titled “Good reactions for low-power shape-memory microactuators,” the article details the mechanism of the microactuator and its potential versatile applications. The microactuator has two configurations: bent and flat. When the bent microactuator is exposed to an electrochemical oxidation reaction, an oxide layer grows on its surface, expanding and flattening the device into its flat configuration. The oxide layer stays after the reaction, which allows the device to maintain its shape without applying voltage. As such, it is especially useful for robots operating with limited power supplies.

The article showcases the versatility of microactuators in extreme environments. For example, in medicine, applications can include: controlled drug delivery, temporary clamps in place of stitches, and fast-response devices against blood clots in arteries. Other applications include use as a microvalve to control flow in microfluidics and reconfigurable optical metamaterials/metaservices. Its potential for application can be further increased by improving energy efficiency, speed, actuation range, and durability.

Read the focus article here.


HEMI Fellow Mitra Taheri Named 2021 Brimacombe Medalist by TMS

Mitra Taheri, HEMI Fellow, professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and director of the Materials Characterization and Processing Facility, has been named a 2021 Brimacombe Medalist by The Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society (TMS).

Taheri was named a medalist for her “pioneering contributions to in-situ microscopic and spectroscopic characterization, and her commitment to diversity in mentorship of the next generation.” Her research focuses on designing and building platforms to study materials in different, often extreme, environments including high temperatures, stress, radiation, oxidation and more. Her team also develops new ways of detecting what is being seen through the microscope faster and in more efficient ways through integrating artificial intelligence. Mitra hopes this integration will improve not only researchers’ understanding of materials processes, but how new materials can be built for the next generation of applications.

The Brimacombe Medalist Award recognizes individuals with sustained excellence and achievement in business, technology, education, public policy, or science related to materials science and engineering and with a record of continuing service to the profession.

Learn more about the Brimacombe Medalist Award here.

HEMI Fellow A. Shoji Hall Receives NSF Early Career Award

HEMI is pleased to announce that HEMI Fellow Anthony Shoji Hall, assistant professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and principal investigator at the Hall Research Group, has been selected to receive an Early CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation!

Hall’s research focuses on investigating electrochemically mediated renewable energy reactions and the synthesis of nanomaterials by low temperature processing. His five-year CAREER award will support his project, “Room Temperature Electrochemical Synthesis of Ordered Intermetallic Nanomaterials,” which plans to examine the phase transformations of low melting point alloys to higher melting point alloys richer in metals that resist oxidation via dealloying. The long-term goal of this work is to enable the design of high-performance ordered intermetallic nanomaterials for next-generation energy conversion devices.

The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) is one of the NSF’s most prestigious awards. It recognizes early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as role models in education, research, and leadership.

Learn more about the NSF’s CAREER award here.