August 5, 2020
New DOE EPSCoR Awards

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $21 million in funding for thirty-one research projects under the Federal Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR). Under the DOE program, university researchers from EPSCoR states partner with researchers at DOE National Laboratories on topics of common interest. Subjects include fundamental research in chemistry and materials science, advancing solar energy and battery technologies, students in particle physics, and other areas. Two of the thirty-one research projects were awarded to the University of South Carolina and Clemson University.

Dr. Dongkyu Lee, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of South Carolina, received one of the DOE EPSCoR awards. Dr. Lee’s project, titled “Orienting Strained Interfaces designed to Direct Energy Flow”, aims to develop a new design concept for oxide heterostructures for fast ion transport required for operating oxide-based energy devices at reduced temperatures. Dr. Lee will synthesize vertical heteroepitaxial nanostructures with fluorite Gd-doped CeO2 and bixbyite RE2O3 (RE = Y and Sm) by pulsed laser deposition and understand fast ion transport properties by modulating interfacial strain. Compared to lateral multilayer thin films, the vertical heteroepitaxial nanostructures have an exceptionally large number of interfaces that are designed to direct energy flow by controlling the orientation of interfaces. This research will establish an atomic-scale foundation for controlling and tuning interfacial ion transport by strain. In addition, the proposed vertical heteroepitaxial nanostructures will significantly improve oxygen ion conduction by providing a high-density ion flux along the interfaces. Consequently, this project will lead to improved long-term durability and stability of oxide-based energy devices due to fast ion conduction at low temperatures, enabling the development of advanced oxide-based energy applications, such as solid oxide fuel cells and batteries. Read more....
Dr. Srikanth Pilla, Jenkins Endowed Professor and Associate Professor of Automotive Engineering at Clemson University, received one of the  DOE EPSCoR awards titled, “Enabling Partnership between South Carolina and NREL for advancing Opportunities in Plastics Recycling Research (EPSCOR for Plastics Recycling)”. The project aims to address the global problems and even crisis associated with the increase of plastic waste in all environmental systems by enabling a renewable cycle through the use of biomass as a feedstock in designing polymers that are recyclable-by-design yet with an upcycled performance. Specifically, using a non-toxic and biobased approach, a major underutilized constituent of the renewable cycle, lignin, is transformed into non-isocyanate polyurethanes, epoxies, and polyamides. These materials represent an enormous portion of the yearly polymer demand finding applications in almost every sector of society: automotive, building and construction, apparel, aerospace, packaging and more.
The goal is to establish a synthetic pathway for processing lignin into high performing polymers capable of reversion to chemical building blocks and re-synthesis.  The success of this project aligns with DOE’s Basic Energy Science and EERE’s Bioenergy Technologies division goal to increase the use biomass in plastic production and find new ways to synthesize polymers recyclable by design. The outcome of this project supports the advancement of South Carolina as a leader in the sustainable manufacturing of plastics in world-wide demand. Read more....
MADE in SC Seminar Series
The MADE in SC weekly seminar series has featured presentations by students and faculty. Last week's presentations were delivered by Dr. Rachel Getman of Clemson University, Dr. Thomas Crawford of the University of South Carolina, and Dr. Chuanbing Tang of the University of South Carolina.

Thursday's seminar will feature three brief research presentations:
  1. Dr. Olga Kuksenok - Title: Modeling Dynamics of Stimuli-Responsive Bottlebrushes: Designing Additives for Commodity Polymers
  2. Dr. Angela Alexander-Bryant - Title: Multifunctional Peptide Nanocarriers for Delivery of Bioactive Nucleic Acids
  3. Dr. Ying Mei - Title: Bioinformatic Data Mining Guided Biomaterials Development for Therapeutic Vascularization

The seminars are scheduled for Thursdays at 2 PM. If you are not a member of the MADE in SC project but wish to attend the seminars, please contact Denise White to register.

Dr. Olga Kuksenok is an Associate Professor at the Materials Science and Engineering Department at Clemson University. Prior to joining Clemson University, she was appointed as a Research Associate Professor at the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA. Dr. Kuksenok  received her PhD in Physics and Mathematics from the Institute of Physics, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Kiev, Ukraine, in 1997, then she was appointed as a  research scientist in Theoretical Physics Department, Institute for Nuclear Research, Kiev, Ukraine, and as a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Kuksenok’s research interests and accomplishments span the following areas of computational materials science: elastodynamics of responsive polymer gels, dynamics of multi-component polymer blends, biomimetic and biological materials, pattern formation in non-equilibrium chemical systems, and complex fluids dynamics.

Dr. Angela Alexander-Bryant, an Assistant Professor in Bioengineering at Clemson University, is a new hire in Thrust 3 of MADE in SC. Dr. Angela Alexander-Bryant received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Materials Science & Engineering from Johns Hopkins University. She completed her Ph.D. in the Clemson-MUSC Joint Bioengineering Program in Charleston, SC in 2015. Her research focuses on the development of novel self-assembled biomaterials for cancer cell detection and delivery of therapeutics, including chemotherapy and nucleic acid-based therapies, to improve targeted treatment of aggressive and/or drug-resistant cancers. Dr. Alexander-Bryant’s Nanobiotechnology Laboratory has recently developed interactive peptide hydrogels for local delivery of chemotherapeutics to treat glioblastoma.

Dr. Ying Mei is an Associate Professor and Dean’s Faculty Fellow in the Bioengineering Department at Clemson University. He received his Ph.D. in Materials Chemistry from New York University Tandon School of Engineering. After serving as a guest researcher in the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), he moved the Langer lab at the MIT as a postdoctoral researcher. He joined Clemson Bioengineering Department in 2012. His lab works on bioinformatics and data science facilitated biomaterials development. His lab also works on the use of silicon nanowires and human cardiac organoids for cardiovascular tissue engineering. These studies have led to publications in Nature Biomedical Engineering, Science Advances, Nano Letters, and Biomaterials.

The final installment of the summer series is scheduled as follows:
  • August 13 - Role of Data Science in Accelerating Materials Research
Coastal Carolina University
Available Postdoctoral Position
Applications are invited for a full-time Postdoctoral position in the Department of Physics and Engineering Science and the Coastal Waccamaw Stormwater Education Consortium (CWSEC) at Coastal Carolina University (CCU) under the supervision of Associate Professor and Engineering Director, Dr. Monica Gray.  This is a year-long, full-time appointment with benefits that can potentially be extended up to two years upon satisfactory performance and availability of funding. Women and Underrepresented Minorities are highly encouraged to apply.

Qualifications: Candidates must have an earned Ph.D. in engineering, or a related discipline by the time of appointment, along with strong mathematical and programming skills, a proven track record of publishing in peer review journals and conference proceedings, and awareness of real-world water sustainability issues. Strong candidates are expected to have formal or informal teaching experience and knowledge of stormwater, watersheds and rivers. Applicants will possess excellent management, communication and computer skills. Must be able to multi-task and work both independently and collaboratively.
Candidates should email Dr. Monica Gray for questions and apply directly to Coastal Carolina University.
Winthrop University
Immediate Adjunct Opening
Winthrop University is seeking a part-time Physics Instructor beginning August 2020 to teach laboratory courses in General Physics and Physics with Calculus during the Fall 2020 semester. Continued employment for Spring 2021 is available, with physics laboratory and lecture course load to be determined. The part-time instructor works closely with two full-time physics faculty members.
Qualifications: Successful candidates must have at least a Master’s degree and a minimum of 18 graduate credit hours in physics. Previous teaching experience at the university level is strongly preferred; experience with distance learning would be advantageous.

To apply: Candidates should e-mail Dr. Robin Lammi to express their interest; please attach a current CV and include unofficial graduate transcripts, if available.
Check the SC NASA EPSCoR website for news and opportunities.
Questions? Contact Tara Scozzaro, SC Space Grant and SC NASA EPSCoR Program Manager, (843) 953-5463, Email
Omnibus Proposal Grants
Program Development Grants

Questions? Contact Susannah Sheldon, SC Sea Grant Research and Fellowships Manager, (843) 953-2078, Email
Looking for Research Collaborators?
Research Expertise Profiles 

Looking for Students?
Student Research Interests Profiles

Find Funding Opportunities
(Stay tuned)
• DOE  
• NIH 

Question? Input? Contact email SC EPSCoR.

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