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LaShanda Korley"On the campus, in the halls, at symposia, there was this vibrancy. Everybody was excited to talk about what they were doing; it just opens your mind to start thinking about the next big thing."

 

 

 

 

 

 

LaShanda J. Korley, PhD 05

 

LaShanda is Assistant Professor of Macromolecular Science and Engineering at Case Western Reserve University

For LaShanda Korley the choice to study chemical engineering came not as an epiphany, but through a process of elimination. “I was interested in how molecules work and I was good at math, chemistry and physics, so if you put it all together, it says ChemE,” she says. “But the reality is that I went to summer camp and knew I didn’t want to do electrical or mechanical engineering.” The remainder, chemical engineering, turned out to be a perfect fit.

Today, Korley runs her own lab at Case Western Reserve University. The lab, called “M-cubed” for mechanically-enhanced, multifunctional materials, focuses on materials inspired by natural substances, such as the titin protein or spider silk, that have special strength or toughness or responsiveness to heat or light. She applies her innovations to making protective fabrics, food packaging, scratch-resistant coatings, optical and mechanical sensors, and even drug-delivery and tissue engineering scaffolds.

The MIT culture played a big role in shaping Korley’s ideas. “On the campus, in the halls, at symposia, there was this vibrancy. Everybody was excited to talk about what they were doing,” she says. “It just opens your mind to start thinking about the next big thing.”