Aug 7, 2017 | By Tess

Florida A&M University (FAMU) and the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering have received a $4.9 million grant from the National Science Foundation. The prestigious grant, part of the Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST) program, will go towards supporting research in the fields of additive manufacturing, materials development, and micrometer-scale manufacturing.

The $4.9 million in funding will specifically be given to support the Center for Complex Materials Design for Multidimensional Additive Processing (CoManD Center), and is designated for a five-year period. Researchers say the supported micrometer manufacturing projects have the potential to impact a number of fields, including the biomedical, aerospace, and energy sectors.

Within the biomedical field, CoManD researchers will be working towards developing in vitro 3D tumor models, as well as new drug delivery methods for treating cancer. For aerospace applications, it is pushing research on electromagnetic radiation shielding materials, as well as more optimal parts for aircraft and space shuttle wings. Within the energy field, scientists are developing nanostructured photovoltaic devices and longer-lasting lightweight batteries.

At the core of many of these projects is 3D printing technology, which provides the ability to “pattern multiple materials in three dimensions.”

L-R: ​Professors Ramakrishnan, Dickens, and Sachdeva with a 3D printer

“This grant will give us a chance to make a bigger footprint in materials and biological research at FAMU and to create a pipeline of new science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) professionals to address the challenges of the future,” explained Subramanian Ramakrishnan, an associate professor of chemical and biomedical engineering at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering and the CoManD Center’s director.

The center’s first endeavours will reportedly include a project to develop nanostructured lightweight materials for sensing and shielding applications, which will be led by Ramakrishnan in partnership with FSU’s National High Magnetic Field Laboratory; a project aimed at developing materials and devices for energy applications led by Professor Tarik Dickens and enabled by the High-Performance Materials Institute; and a project to create devices for biomedical applications.

This last project, directed by FAMU Pharmaceutics Professor Mandip Singh Sachdeva, will include such innovative devices as a 3D printed tumor biosystem on a chip.

The researchers will also partner with such institutions as the Florida State University, Harvard University, MIT, the Army Research Labs, and Air Force Research Labs for the center’s various undertakings.

“The uniqueness of this award is the synergy between universities, national labs, and defense labs,” said Ramakrishnan. “This award is a new milestone for FAMU. It will help establish FAMU as a pioneer in additive manufacturing research in the Southeast and garner attention from regional industries.”

“It creates strong collaborations between the engineering, pharmaceutical sciences, agriculture, and science and technology colleges and schools at FAMU," Ramakrishnan added. "This project also opens up avenues for students and faculty to work with some of the top scientists in the world at our collaborator institutions like MIT and Harvard.”

The $4.9 million grant will also be put towards undergraduate research and courses that deal with additive manufacturing, self-assembly, nanoparticle synthesis and characterization, as well as nanomaterials and nanoparticles in biology and medicine.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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