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Emily Ostermann Wins a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship!

Emily Ostermann
Emily Ostermann – Photo by Sameer A. Khan / Fotobuddy

Alumna Emily Ostermann (B.S. ’22) has won a prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (NSF GRF)!

Emily is a first-year chemical engineering Ph.D. student in Prof. Emily Davidson’s research laboratory at Princeton University.  The focus of her research is liquid crystal elastomer (LCE) elastocalorics. These materials are polymer networks that can undergo a mechanotropic phase transition between the disordered isotropic state and the ordered liquid crystalline state in response to applied strain, accompanied by the release or absorption of heat.

For her project, Emily will use iterative exponential growth synthesis to tailor LCE network structures to understand the effect of network heterogeneities on mechanotropic phase transition behavior.

At State, Emily spent four years as an undergraduate researcher in Prof. Qingshan Wei’s research group, where she worked on the fabrication of polymer-based microneedle patches that can rapidly extract DNA from plant leaves for point-of-care diagnostics of plant disease.  As part of that work, Emily was the second author of three journal articles and one book chapter.

A 2020 article in Current Protocols in Plant Biology and a 2022 book chapter in Plant Pathology, a part of the Methods in Molecular Biology Series, that Emily co-authored describe a new DNA extraction method using microneedles as an easy-to-follow protocol that can be used in common laboratories or on crop fields. A Biosensors & Bioelectronics article published in September 2021 that Emily co-authored demonstrates that microneedle patches can be integrated with a smartphone platform that allows diagnosis of plant pathogens within 30 min without benchtop equipment, thereby paving the way for diagnosis of human and plant diseases in remote or resource-limited settings. In addition, Emily contributed to a review article published in Biosensors & Bioelectronics in 2020, summarizing recent advances in point-of-care DNA extraction technologies.

Emily grew up in Toms River, New Jersey, and she enjoys running, rock climbing, reading and writing fiction, and creating digital art.  After earning her Ph.D., she intends to pursue a career in polymer science research for sustainability and/or biomedical applications.

Congratulations to Emily for your already-productive research career and for receiving a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship!