Current Investigators


Bryan A. Chin, Ph.D., Center Director
McWane Professor and Chair, Materials Research and Education Center

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Phone: (334) 844-3322
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Samuel Ginn College of Engineering representative on the AUDFS Steering Committee

Education: B.S., Materials Engineering (with high honors), Auburn University, 1973; M.S., Materials Science and Engineering, Stanford University, 1974; Ph.D., Materials Science and Engineering (with distinction), Stanford University, 1976

Professional History Auburn University faculty member since 1981, including alumni professor, professor and chair of the Materials Engineering program; concurrently served as university associate vice president for research for eight years; four years in materials-related research and management positions with Westinghouse Hanford Company

Research Interests: sensor development for biological detection; radio-frequency identification monitoring and detection systems; adaptive materials; sol gel deposition of piezoelectric materials; process control sensors and control methodology; hold six research-related patents

   

James M. Barbaree, Ph.D., Associate Center Director
Professor, Department of Biological Sciences

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Phone: (334) 844-1647
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College of Sciences and Mathematics representative on the AUDFS Steering Committee

Education: B.S., Zoology, University of Southern Mississippi, 1963; M.S., Microbiology, University of Southern Mississippi, 1964; Ph.D., Bacteriology, University of Georgia, 1967

Professional History Auburn University faculty member since 1991; prior appointments as captain in the U.S. Army (two years); assistant professor at the University of West Florida (three years), and 06/scientist director (final rank equivalent to full colonel) with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (20 years)

Research Interests: microchip sensor development for rapid bacteria detection; molecular subtyping and detection of foodborne/waterborne bacterial pathogens (including DNA-based analysis, PCR techniques, and pulsed-field-gel electrophoresis); Legionella pneumophila quorum sensing

   

ZhongYang Cheng, Ph.D., Assistant Center Director
Professor, Materials Research & Education Center

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Phone: (334) 844-3419
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Education: B.S., Physics, Xian Jiaotong University (China), 1983; M.S., Electronic Materials and Components, Xian Jiaotong University, 1989; Ph.D., Electronic Engineering, Xian Jiaotong University, 1995

Professional History: Auburn University faculty member since August 2002; four years with The Pennsylvania State University Materials Research Laboratory/Materials Research Institute

Research Interests: Materials Physics: Investigate the structure-property relationship; Characterize the structure and property; especially dielectric; electromechanical; and magnetostrictive properties; of polymers; ceramics and single crystals.; Smart/Adaptive Materials: Develop new smart materials: piezoelectric; ferroelectric; electro-optic; and dielectric ceramics and thin film; magnetostrictive thin film and nanowires; dielectric and multiferroic composites including nanocomposites; electroactive polymers (artificial muscle); Device Development: Design; fabricate and characterize novel micro/nano-sensor platforms; actuators and transducers; Develop biosensors for food safety and security.; Smart materials including piezoelectric; dielectric; ferroelectric; and magnetostrictive materials as well as their (nano)composites; Electroactive polymers (artificial muscle); Electromechanical actuators; transducers;and energy harvest device; Biological and chemical sensors.

   

Donald E. Conner, Ph.D.
Professor and Head, Department of Poultry Science

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Phone: (334) 844-4133
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College of Agriculture representative on the AUDFS Steering Committee

Education: B.S.E.H., Environmental Health Science, University of Georgia, Athens, 1980; M.S., Food Science (emp. food microbiology), University of Georgia, Athens, 1983; Ph.D., Food Science (emp. food microbiology), University of Georgia, Athens, 1986

Professional History: Auburn University faculty member since 1989; prior project microbiologist and research microbiologist in the National Food Processors Association Microbiology Division

Research Interests: microbiological safety of food products, especially poultry; food and feed mycology; factors affecting transmission, growth and pathogenesis of foodborne Salmonella, Listeria, E. coli 0157:H7, Campylobacter, Clostridium botulinum, et cetera; multidisciplinary food safety education

Jeffrey Fergus, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Materials Science

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Phone: (334) 844-3405
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Education: B.S., University of Illinois, 1985; Ph.D., Materials Science and Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, 1990

Professional History: Auburn University faculty member since 1992; prior postdoctoral research associate at the University of Notre Dame.

Research Interests: High-temperature and solid-state chemistry of materials: fuel cells, chemical sensors, chemical compatibility / stability in high-temperature materials.

   

David Held, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology

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Phone: (334) 844-3818
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Education: B.S., Horticulture, University of Kentucky 1994; Ph.D., Entomology, University of KY 2003

Professional History Auburn University faculty member since 2008; prior researcher and professor at Mississippi State University; served as a research analyst at the University of Kentucky.

Research Interests: ecology and management of phytophagous insects particularly those pest attacking turfgrass and ornamental plants. Research interests include plant-insect interactions, insect behavior, and ecotoxicology.

Jong Wook Hong, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Materials Research & Education Center

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Phone:(334) 844-7385
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Education: B.S., Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Pukyong National University (Pusan, Korea), 1991; M.S., Microbiology, Pukyong National University, 1995; Ph.D., Chemistry and Biotechnology (Chemical Engineering), University of Tokyo (Tokyo, Japan), 2000

Professional History: Auburn University faculty member since December 2004; three years as postdoctoral scholar in the California Institute Technology (Caltech), Thomas J. Watson, Sr. Laboratories of Applied Physics; research experiences in the Institute of Industrial Science (IIS) of the University of Tokyo (Tokyo, Japan), and the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research (RIKEN) (Saitama, Japan); served for Korean Army as a lieutenant

Research Interests: Integrated micro/nanofluidic systems for nanobiotechnology; bioMEMB; biomaterials; automated high-throughput systems for systems biology; microarray; biomolecular engineering

   

Tung-Shi Huang, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Poultry Science

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Phone: (334) 844-3290
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College of Agriculture representative on the AUDFS Steering Committee

Education: B.S., Plant Pathology, National Chung-Hsing University (Taiwan), 1978; M.S., Plant Pathology, National Chung-Hsing University (Taiwan), 1981; Ph.D., Food Science and Human Nutrition, University of Florida, 1993.

Professional History: Auburn University faculty member since 2002; AU researcher since 1999; 14 years of personal- and university-supported research experience

Research Interests: identification of pathogenic bacteria by molecular biological assay; fusion protein development using PCR technique; protein purification and monoclonal antibody development for identifying foodborne bacterial contamination, seafood species and prohibited MBM in animal feedstuffs

   

Dong-Joo (Daniel) Kim, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Materials Research & Education Center

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Phone: (334) 844-4864
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Education: B.S., Ceramic Engineering, Yonsei University (Seoul, South Korea), 1993; M.S., Ceramic Engineering, Yonsei University (Seoul, South Korea), 1995; Ph.D., Materials Science and Engineering, North Carolina State University, 2001

Professional History: Auburn University faculty member since 2003; postdoctoral associate experience at Argonne National Laboratory's Materials Science Division; research assistant/associate experience at North Carolina State University, Korea Institute of Science and Technology (Seoul, South Korea), and Yonsei University. 

Research Interests: fabrication of piezoelectric MEMS structures; characterization of ferroelectric and piezoelectric properties; fabrication of nano-structures; and thin-film deposition with sputter, chemical vapor deposition, evaporation, chemical solution deposition; characterization of thin films with various structural and electrical measurement techniques and computer automation

   

Robert A. Locy, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Biological Sciences

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Phone: (334) 844-1623
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Education: Ph.D., Purdue University

Research Interests: Interested in aspects of gene regulation in plant systems related to plant responses to biotic and abiotic stresses, particularly responses involving changes in small regulatory RNAs that can be used to quickly and efficiently characterize the nature and type of response.  The goal of this research is to determine and create a set of biosensors capable of detecting specific genomic responses to particular stresses in specific target crop plants.

W.C. Neely, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

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Phone: (334) 844-3322
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Education: Ph.D., Louisiana State University, 1962

Professional History: Prior to working as an Auburn faculty member, served as a research chemist at Chemstrand Research Center, Research Triangle Park, N.C.; honored by American Chemical Society for 50 years of membership in 2011.

Research Interests: molecular spectroscopy, plasma discharges, Langmuir-Blodgett films, biophysics, sensors.

Minseo Park, Ph.D.
Professor,
Department of Physics

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Phone: (334) 844-4270
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Education: B.S., Ceramic Engineering, Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea, 1991; M.S., Materials Science and Engineering, Iowa State University, 1994; Ph.D., Materials Science and Engineering , North Carolina State University, 1998

Professional History: Auburn University faculty member since 2003; research assistant professor, North Carolina State University, 2001-2003; research scholar

Research Interests: Surface-enhanced- Raman spectroscopic detection of bio-pathogen; Optical spectroscopy, device fabrication, and nanotechnology of wide band gap semiconductors

   

Valery A. Petrenko, Ph.D., D.Sci.
Professor, Department of Pathobiology

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Phone: (334) 844-2897
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Education: M.S., Chemistry, Moscow State University, 1972; Ph.D., Chemistry, Institute of Organic Chemistry (Moscow), 1976; D.Sci, Chemistry, Moscow State University, 1988

Professional History Auburn University faculty member since 2000; seven years with the University of Missouri (Columbia) Division of Biological Sciences (visiting professor and research professor); eight years with the Institute of Biologically Active Substances NPO "Vector" (Novosibirsk, Russia) (assistant scientific director, director and professor); eight years with the Institute of Molecular Biology (Novosibirsk) (senior research scientist and head of nucleic acids laboratory); two years in research capacity with Institute of Organic Chemistry (Moscow)

Research Interests: phage display; substitute antibodies; diagnostic detectors; engineered reconstruction of genes, proteins and microorganisms; molecular evolution; protein drug design; hemostatics; 13 research-related patents obtained

   

Barton C. Prorok, Ph.D.
Professor, Materials Research & Education Center

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Phone: (334) 844-4733
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Education: B.S., Ceramic Science and Engineering, Pennsylvania State University, 1991; M.S., Metallurgy, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1993; M.S., Materials Science and Engineering, University of Pittsburgh, 1996; Ph.D., Materials Science and Engineering, University of Illinois at Chicago, 2000

Professional History: Auburn University faculty member since August 2002; two years as postdoctoral research associate in Northwestern University's MEMS/Nanotechnology Group; nine years as research assistant in Argonne National Laboratory's Superconductivity Group

Research Interests: microstructure / property relationships of thin films and MEMS materials, micro and nanoscale testing of materials and structures, and novel MEMS devices

   

Aleksandr L. Simonian, Ph.D., D.Sci.
Professor, Materials Research & Education Center

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Phone: (334) 844-4485
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Education: M.S., Physics, Yerevan State University (Yerevan, Armenia), 1969; Ph.D., Molecular Biophysics, National Academy of Science of Armenia, 1973; D.Sci., Bioengineering, Moscow Institute of Applied Biochemistry, 1993

Professional History: Auburn University faculty member since January 2003; eight years as visiting associate professor/research scientist at Texas A&M University with dual appointments in Biochemistry and Biophysics, and Chemical Engineering departments; 26 years with the Yerevan Physics Institute, achieving the level of head of its Biosensors Laboratory

Research Interests: biosensor development and fabrication, biomolecule-surface interactions, and the application of nanoparticles in biorecognition

   

Curtis Shannon, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry

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Phone: (334) 844-6964
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Education: B.S., Chemistry, California State University, Fullerton, 1981; Ph.D., Analytical Chemistry, University of Texas, Austin, 1988

Professional History: Auburn University faculty member since 1991; postdoctoral fellow, Fritz-Haber-Institut, Berlin (two years); postdoctoral scientist, University of Cincinnati (one year)

Research Interests: Electroanalytical chemistry, electrosynthesis of advanced materials, development of novel chemical and biological sensors, vibrational spectroscopy (raman and infrared) and atomic resolution scanning probe microscopy of surfaces

   

Sang-Jin Suh, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences

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Phone: (334) 844-1666
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Education: A.B., University of Chicago, 1984; M.S., University of Wisconsin - Madison, 1987; Ph.D., University of Wisconsin - Madison, 1994

Professional History: Auburn University faculty member since 2002; Postdoctoral Fellow/Senior Research Scientist in Molecular Pathogenesis, Virginia Commonwealth University, (four years); Postdoctoral Fellow in Molecular Pathogenesis at University of Tennessee School of Medicine (two years); Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine (two years)

Research Interests: Molecular Mechanisms of Bacterial Stress Response and Pathogenesis; Utilization of Pseudomonas aeruginosa as a Biological Factory; Development of Molecular Tools for Rapid Detection of Bacterial Pathogens

   

Vitaly Vodyanoy, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Anatomy, Physiology & Pharmacology

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Phone: (334) 844-5405
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College of Veterinary Medicine representative on the AUDFS Steering Committee

Education: M.S., Physics, Moscow Physical Engineering Institute, 1964; Ph.D., Biophysics, Agrophysical Research Institute (Leningrad), 1973

Professional History Auburn University faculty member since 1989, including a fellow and director of biosensor laboratory for the College of Veterinary Medicine; prior appointments at Institute of Semiconductors, USSR Academy of Sciences (Leningrad) (assistant professor, seven years); A.F. Ioffe Physicotechnical University, USSR Academy of Sciences (Leningrad) (associate professor, six years); New York University Department of Chemistry, Radiation and Solid State Laboratory and Laboratory of Biophysical Chemistry (three years); University of California (Irvine) Department of Physiology and Biophysics, College of Medicine (research associate, seven years)

Research Interests: sensory physiology, receptors, biosensors, cell membranes, functional reconstruction of membrane-associated macromolecules, chemically grated ion channels, transport models, monolayers and bilayers, olfactory receptor neurons; two research-related patents obtained

   

Jacek Wower, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Animal Sciences

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Phone: (334) 844-1508
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Education: M.S., Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland; Ph.D., Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland; Postdoctoral Training: Max-Planck Institut für Molekulare Genetik, Berlin, Germany and University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA, USA

Research Interests: Structure and function of ribonucleic acids which play important roles in protein synthesis; RNA viruses; RNA-based nanotechnology; Synthetic RNA molecules; Programmable RNA networks; Visualization

   

Wei Zhan, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry

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Phone: (334) 844-6984
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Education: Ph.D., Food Science, Texas A&M

Professional History: Auburn University faculty member since 2007

Research Interests: Biosensors and chemical detection with focuses on artificial photosynthesis, electroanalytical and bioanalytical chemistry. At AUDFS, Dr. Zhan's efforts include the development of new detection strategies of pathogens and bacteria using various electrochemical methods. For example, his lab is trying to develop new photoelectrochemical platforms on which biological interaction events can be detected on lipid bilayers with high sensitivity but low costs. In the long term, Dr. Zhan hopes to develop smart chemical systems that can detect, track and kill disease-causing bacteria. Dr. Zhan’s recent work has been supported by a CAREER award from NSF and AUDFS.


Last Updated: Oct 25, 2012