Speaker Biographies

Dr. Peter Niewiarowski

Professor, Biology, University of Akron

PI/Director, Biomimicry Research and Innovation Center (BRIC), University of Akron

Leadership team member of Great Lakes Biomimicry, Cleveland OH

Peter H. Niewiarowski is a professor of Biology and Integrated Bioscience at the University of Akron (UA) and a principal investigator and co-founder of the Biomimicry Research and Innovation Center (BRIC) at the University of Akron. Peter received a BS in biology from Marlboro College in Vermont, and a PhD in ecology and evolutionary biology from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. He has been a faculty member at UA since 1995, doing research and teaching on amphibians and reptiles. Since 2007 he has focused on basic and applied problems in gecko adhesion and on designing and building interdisciplinary research and research-industry interfaces in the field of biomimicry.

Dr. Ali Dhinojwala 

H.A. Morton Professor, Polymer Science, University of Akron

Co-PI Biomimicry Research and Innovation Center (BRIC), University of Akron

Professor Dhinojwala received his Bachelors of Technology Degree in Chemical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, India and his Ph.D. from Northwestern University in Chemical Engineering in 1994.  Thereafter, he was a Research Scientist at the Department of Materials Science at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, from 1994 to 1996.  At GE Plastics, he worked on developing plastics for DVDs from 1996 to 1997.  In 1997 he joined The University of Akron in the Department of Polymer Science. Professor Dhinojwala served as a Chair of the Department of Polymer Science from 2008-2012, and is currently H. A. Morton Chair Professor of Polymer Science. He has been a recipient of the NSF-CAREER Award and NSF-Creativity Award from the National Science Foundation. He is also a recipient of the Young Faculty Award from 3M Corporation. Professor Dhinojwala is a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

Professor Dhinojwala’s current research interest is in understanding adhesion, friction, and wetting. His group has developed light-based spectroscopic techniques to understand the physical properties of molecules at surfaces and interfaces. His recent interest in the area of bio-adhesion has led them to develop synthetic adhesives inspired by geckos and spiders. He currently has 150 peer-reviewed publications and ten patents issued or pending.

Dr. Joel Fried

Professor, Department Chair, Chemical Engineering, University of Louisville

Joel R. Fried is Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Louisville. Prior to his current position, he was Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering at Florida State, Professor and Wright Brothers Endowed Chair in Nanomaterials at the University of Dayton, and Professor and Head of the Department of Chemical Engineering and a Dual Professor of Genome Sciences in the College of Medicine at the University of Cincinnati. He also has served as Director of the Polymer Research Center and was PI of a NSF-IGERT program on Biomedical Applications of Membrane Science and Technology. While at UC, Professor Fried mentored over 60 MS, PhD, and postdoctoral students and secured over $15 million in externally funded grant support. He continues to be associated with UC as Professor Emeritus and Fellow of the Graduate School. Professor Fried received BS degrees in Biology and Chemical Engineering and a ME degree in Chemical Engineering from RPI as well as MS and PhD degrees in Polymer Science and Engineering from UMASS (Amherst). He has authored approximately 150 publications including a widely used textbook on Polymer Science and Technology (Prentice Hall, 3rd ed. 2014). A biography on Noble Laureate Paul Flory (John Paul Flory: A Life of Science), co-authored with Gary Patterson (Carnegie Mellon), James Mark (Cincinnati), and Do Yoon (Stanford), will be published in July 2015 by CRC Press. Two more textbooks are in preparations including Computational Chemistry and Molecular Simulations (Wiley, 2015) and Advanced Thermodynamics for Engineers (McGraw-Hill, 2016). He has served as Editor, Associate Editor, or as a member of the editorial boards of several journals including Polymer, the Journal of Polymer Engineering, Computational and Theoretical Polymer Science, The NAMS Quarterly, and Polymer Contents. His recent research activities have focused primarily on the transport of ions and small molecules in polymeric, biological, and biomimetic membranes.

Dr. Philip Brown

Postdoctoral Fellow, Nanoprobe Laboratory for Bio- & Nanotechnology and Biomimetics, The Ohio State University

Dr. Philip Brown is a materials chemistry postdoctoral researcher working in the Nanoprobe Laboratory for Bio- & Nanotechnology and Biomimetics (NLB2) at The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio. His research interests include bioinspired coatings for self-cleaning, anti-fouling, and oil–water separation applications. He received his PhD in Chemistry from Durham University in the UK. He has authored many scientific papers on functional coatings and holds 2 patents (pending).

Dr. Carson Meredith

Professor, School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, Georgia Tech

Dr. Carson Meredith received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Georgia Tech in 1993 and his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from University of Texas, Austin, in 1998.  From 1998 to 2000 he was an NRC postdoctoral associate at NIST (National Institute of Standards & Technology), in the Polymers Division.  Since 2000 he has been a faculty member in the School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering at Georgia Tech, in Atlanta, GA, where he is now Professor and Associate Chair for Graduate Studies.

Prof. Meredith’s research focuses on advanced materials development and characterization, with an emphasis on biomimicry and utilization of particle- and fiber-based natural materials with high interfacial surface area.  Project areas include renewable light-weight high-strength composites, sustainable barrier films, and bio-inspired adhesives.  His work has been featured on the covers of Macromolecules, Macromolecular Chemistry and Physics, the Materials Research Bulletin, and Macromolecular Materials & Engineering.

Dr. Michael Dickey

Professor, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, North Carolina State University

Michael Dickey received a BS in Chemical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology (1999) and a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin (2006) under the guidance of Professor Grant Willson. From 2006-2008 he was a post-doctoral fellow in the lab of Professor George Whitesides at Harvard University.  In August 2008, he joined the Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering at NC State University where he is currently a Professor.  Michael’s research interests include patterning and actuating soft materials by studying and harnessing thin films, interfaces, and unconventional fabrication techniques.

Dr. Ted Smith

Chief of Civic Innovation, Louisville Metro Government

Executive Director, Institute for Healthy Air, Water and Soil

Community Fellow for Energy and Environment, Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research

Ted Smith was appointed by Mayor Greg Fischer as the Chief of Civic Innovation. Ted’s efforts include the 2012 IBM Smarter City Challenge-winning adoption of Asthmapolis sensor inhalers across Louisville to develop a new understanding of asthma. Ted is an Open Government/Open Data champion and is responsible for efforts to expand the entrepreneurial and innovation economy of Louisville. Ted also serves as Executive Director of a civic innovation laboratory – The Institute for Healthy Air, Water and Soil. Prior to city government, he was appointed Senior Innovation Advisor in the HHS Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) of Health IT. He founded chronic disease news service MedTrackAlert which was acquired by Health Central in 2008.  He holds a B.S. from Allegheny College and M.A. and Ph.D. in Cognitive Science from Miami University (OH) and a post-doc at MIT. He was a Co-Investigator for the Neurolab shuttle mission. He was named 2013 Government Technology’s “Top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers.”

Dr. Shashank Priya

Professor, Mechanical Engineering, Virginia Tech

Faculty Director, Materials and Sustainable Energy, Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science, Virginia Tech

Shashank Priya is currently Robert E Hord Jr. Professor in department of mechanical engineering and Turner Fellow in college of engineering. His research is focused in the areas related to multifunctional materials, energy and bio-inspired systems. He has published over 275 peer-reviewed journal papers / book chapter and more than 50 conference proceedings covering these topics. Additionally, he has published more than five US patents and five edited books. He is  the  founder  and  chair  of  the  Annual  Energy  Harvesting  Workshop  series (www.ehworkshop.com). He is currently serving as the chief editor of journal “Energy Harvesting and  Systems”,  editorial  board  member  of  journal  integrated  ferroelectrics  and  advisory  board member  of  journal  of  dielectrics.  He  is  also  serving  as  the  member  of  the  Honorary  Chair Committee for the International Workshop on Piezoelectric Materials and Applications (IWPMA). Shashank has received several awards including: Alumni award for excellence in Research 2014, Fellow American Ceramic Society 2013, Turner Fellowship 2012, Dean’s Research Excellence Award 2011, and AFOSR Young Investigator Award.

Dr. Margaret Carreiro

Professor, Biology, University of Louisville

Director, Center for Environmental Science, University of Louisville

Research Interests:  Urban and Suburban Ecology, Global Change Ecology, Ecosystem Ecology, Soil Ecology, Conservation and Restoration Ecology.

Most of Dr. Carreiro’s research is focused on understanding how urban environments (the built environment, people) interact with the natural and semi-natural components of cities and suburbs. This provides an opportunity to explore the impacts of many of the same factors that are affecting biodiversity and ecosystem processes at the global scale.  Dr. Carreiro focuses her research on the responses of vegetation, soils and ecosystem processes to urban and suburban landscapes, and invasive species ecology. She is also interested in Sustainable Cities Research and in working with social science researchers, urban decision-makers, environmental managers and other practitioners to understand how green infrastructure and green space conservation and management can be improved to make cities and suburbs more resilient to environmental perturbations, and healthier and more pleasing places for people to live in.  Dr. Carreiro has been engaged in woodlands management research with the Louisville Olmsted Parks Conservancy and chaired two committees that have contributed to two major Metro Louisville government initiatives on the environment.  These were the Urban Forestry Committee of the Louisville Climate Change Action Plan Task Force, and the Science and Inventory Committee of Louisville’s Tree Commission.

Ms. Marisha Farnsworth

Creative Director and co-founder of Urban Biofilter, Oakland, CA

Designer at Hyphae Design Laboratory, Oakland, CA

Marisha Farnsworth is an artist and designer who creates public space interventions that address questions of place, functionality and collectivity. Marisha’s work focuses on future ecosystems, infrastructural utopias and the social and economic implications of materiality in the built environment. Embracing collaboration, Marisha has worked with interdisciplinary teams to develop waste stream-based building materials and is a longstanding collaborator and designer at the ecological engineering firm, Hyphae Design Lab. In 2009, Marisha co-founded Urban Biofilter, a nonprofit that combines ecology, urban planning and community-based design to reimagine urban ecology. Marisha holds an MArch degree from UC Berkeley and a BFA from the Cooper Union and currently teaches at Merritt College in Oakland, CA.



Ms. Emily Kennedy

Biomimicry Fellow, PhD student, Integrated Bioscience, University of Akron

Emily Kennedy is a Biomimicry Fellow in the Integrated Bioscience PhD Program at the University of Akron. Her graduate studies are sponsored by GOJO Industries, the inventor of PURELL® Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer.  Emily spends two days a week embedded in the GOJO R&D department supporting sustainable product and process innovation inspired by nature. Emily has a BA in International Relations (Minor: Environmental Studies) from Colgate University and is a certified Innovation Engineering Black Belt.

Mr. Bor-Kai (Bill) Hsiung 

Biomimicry Fellow, PhD candidate, Integrated Bioscience, University of Akron

Bor-Kai is a Sherwin-Williams sponsored corporate Biomimicry Fellow at the Biomimicry Research & Innovation Center; a PhD candidate co-advised by Dr. Todd Blackledge and Dr. Matthew Shawkey in the Integrated Bioscience program at The University of Akron. He is also a trained Biomimicry Specialist (2011) by Biomimicry 3.8. Coming to Biomimicry with interests of studying the material properties of spider silks. Bor-Kai is achieving his goal by doing spider research, with a little twist. Instead of studying spider silks, his research is now focusing on studying nanostructures and color producing mechanisms in spiders, especially for colors that have structural bases (i.e., structural colors). Bor-Kai envisions Biomimicry to be the hope to sustainable and more eco-friendly technologies.

Ms. Daphne Fecheyr-Lippens

Biomimicry Fellow, PhD candidate, Integrated Bioscience, University of Akron

Daphne Fecheyr-Lippens is a biomimicry fellow in the Integrated Bioscience PhD program at the University of Akron, sponsored by Parker Hannifin. Her doctoral research focuses on understanding UV coloration of CaCO3-based materials such as avian eggshells, to inform eco-friendly and innovative materials that protect against harmful UV exposure. Daphne received the Biomimicry Specialist certificate (2012) and has a BSc and MSc in Biotechnology from the University of Ghent, Belgium.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s