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(3hg) Nanomaterials Synthesis for Emerging Applications: From Space Exploration to Biomedical Applications

Salami, H. - Presenter, University of Maryland

I am a Postdoctoral Fellow at the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering of Georgia Institute of Technology. My postdoc research under the supervision of Dr. Ronald Rousseau, Dr. Martha Grover, and Dr. Andreas Bommarius focuses on process design and process development for the continuous manufacturing of pharmaceuticals and is supported by U.S Food and Drug Administration, FDA. I obtained my Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering in 2019 from the University of Maryland under the supervision of Dr. Raymond Adomaitis. My Ph.D. research was focused on vapor-based synthesis of nanomaterials and thin-films for space-related applications and was supported by U.S National Science Foundation and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. I was also a Future Faculty Fellow at the same institution.

Research Interests

1- Vapor-based synthesis of non-binary thin-films and coatings
Potential funding sources: SRC, NSF, NASA, INTEL Co.

Processing new materials with optimized properties in nano and micro-scales for a range of emerging applications such as space exploration, semiconductors processing, biomedical sensors, and anti-infectious surfaces requires a detailed understanding of the material synthesis process and their characterization. Among different methods, vapor-based processing techniques such as Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD, CVD) offer the unique advantage of precise control on the synthesis process and material properties in atomic-scale, enabling access to a large region of physicochemical properties. This presents itself in applications such as bandgap tuning, anti-infectious coatings, pharmaceuticals coating for optimized drug delivery, etc. To achieve the full potential of these methods and take the next steps in advanced manufacturing, it is necessary to extend our current understanding beyond binary systems. Building on my Ph.D. research, my future research group will focus on this thrust in two parallel programs:

  1. Applied material synthesis – focusing on experimental synthesis, characterization, and optimization of thin-films using novel atomic layer deposition processes for emerging applications.
  2. First-principle process understanding – using quantum-level computational tools such as the Density Functional Theory (DFT) to study the growth mechanisms of non-binary ALD systems, and use material informatics tools such as Machine Learning for data-driven material selection for specific applications.

2- Model-based process design for continuous manufacturing and processing of pharmaceuticals
Potential funding sources: NSF, FDA, Gates foundation, Novartis foundation

In recent years there has been a great push from U.S FDA for the move towards continuous processes for pharmaceutical manufacturing. Compared to traditionally used batch systems, these have advantages such as robust control over the product quality and higher throughput. This shift should also be accompanied by the implementation of Quality by Design (QbD) and Process Analytical Technologies (PAT). To systematically approach this goal, it is important to start with comprehensive process models that encompass all the governing phenomena typical to pharmaceutical manufacturing, such as enzymatic reactions chemistry, crystallization, product separation, etc. Considering the wide variety of system-dependent complexities, a range of models from ab initio to data-driven models should be used for this purpose. Building on my postdoc experience, my future research group will focus on this thrust in two categories:

  1. Process model development for pharmaceutical manufacturing and coating
  2. PAT model-development and validation for process characterization

Teaching Interests

I am interested in teaching core chemical engineering courses in both graduate and undergraduate levels. I also would be happy to design new electives in-line with my research, such as Nanomaterial Synthesis Methods and Applications. My teaching philosophy is based on (1) ensuring students preparedness for both research and industrial careers, (2) providing the best learning experience for students from different Socio-economic and cultural backgrounds, and (3) strong emphasis on outside of class and online learning and material development. Committed to our social responsibility, my lab will be active in reaching out to the local community by participating and hosting in science festivals, mentoring local high school students, and accepting interns from local schools in our lab.