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Minglin Ma

"Electrospinning leverages a lot of fundamental physics, such as electrohydrodynamics. In one of my research projects, I made a new class of fibers and fibrous membranes that have diameters three to four orders of magnitude smaller than those made by conventional methods."

Minglin Ma Ph.D. '08

My primary research area is electrospinning, a technique for making extremely small (10 nanometers to 10 micrometers in diameter) yet long continuous fibers from polymeric materials. I was attracted to this area in part because of the extraordinary research done in electrospinning by my thesis advisor and mentor, Professor Gregory C. Rutledge, and in part because electrospun fibers are useful materials for a wide range of applications, ranging from membranes and filtration media to high-surface-area substrates for sensors and catalysis, as well as medical applications such as stents, tissue scaffolds, and drug delivery.

I guess electrospinning is a microcosm of the overall ChemE experience in that the work is endlessly fascinating and you get a lot out of it. For example, upon graduation I not only had a Ph.D. degree I'm very proud of, I also had teaching experience as a T.A. for a graduate core course and a UROP mentor; three exciting internships, two in Switzerland for Novartis, and one in Minneapolis for General Mills; about a dozen journal and peer-reviewed publications; a number of awards; and three patents.

I'm currently working at GE Global Research Center, but will always remember fondly the social events and collaborative environment that ChemE fostered, and the support and encouragement of Professor Rutledge. His enthusiasm for new ideas motivated me as a student, and continues to do so today.