Magnetic Imaging Guided Composite Materials Development

In our lab, we are investigating the potential application of magnetic particle imaging (MPI) to examine composite polymer biomaterials. In particular, we are working towards the use of MPI as a unique tool to characterize the in situ wear debris formation of magnetic polymer nanocomposites in different chemical and biological fluid environments. The information gathered from these studies will provide valuable knowledge on wear debris formation mechanisms of biopolymers and will contribute to the fabrication of innovative composite material systems possessing highly desired magnetic properties and good mechanical performance and reliability. This work is expected to lead ultimately to the ability to track wear and the generation of debris in real time inside the body, providing a transformational tool for improving the performance of plastic implant materials.


Prof. Mark A. Griswold (Department of Radiology, CWRU)

Lisa Bauer (Department of Physics & Biomedical Engineering, CWRU)

Funding:  NSF-CAREER (DMR-1253358)      *       IAM-IGBD



Hollow Metal Nanostructures for Sensor Applications




Hollow metal nanostructures represent an intriguing class of nanomaterials that has gained great interest in recent years due to their potential in a range of applications including catalysis, sensing, and biomedical research. In particular, their enhanced electrocatalytic properties as compared to their solid counterparts have been attributed to the nanostructures’ increased surface area, low density, and high void ratio. Moreover, studies have shown that hollow nanoparticles show improved catalytic activities compared to their solid counterparts due to the emergence of the “nanoreactor cage effect” and the presence of highly active uncapped and rough inner surfaces. In our group we are systematically exploring the electrocatalytic properties of hollow Pt nanobox (NB), nanosphere (NS) and nanoring (NR) structures and their applications in gas sensing and in the detection and monitoring of emerging blood-based cancer biomarkers.


Prof. Chung-Chiun Liu (Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, CWRU)

Dr. Jing Li (NASA Ames Research Center)

Prof. Cheryl L. Thompson  (School of Medicine, CWRU)

Dr. Matthew M. Cooney (University Hospitals Case Medical Center)

Prof. William P. Schiemann (School of Medicine, CWRU) 

Funding:     NASA     *     NIH –CTSC, CTSC/Coulter       *      UCITE –Glennan Fellowship       *        BioCase Diagnostics LLC

Studying the Effects of Nanoparticle Exposure on Plant Growth and on the Local Soil Microbe Population

Nanoparticles are increasingly used in commercial applications, yet little is known about its long-term effects on soil fertility and the fate of these materials in the environment. Given their current usage, and the expectation of greater nanoparticle environmental exposure, additional studies that explore the effects of these materials on the plant-soil systems in agriculture are needed to determine long-term effects on plant growth, soil fertility, and sustainability of nanoparticle applications. To address this concern our group is collaborating with Prof. David Burke from the Holden Arboretum to evaluate the effects of nanoparticle exposure on plant growth and nutrient content, and on the local soil microbial groups in the plant rhizosphere, which are important for maintaining soil fertility. We are systematically investigating how the nanoparticle composition, size and surface chemistry affect their incorporation and toxicity in model cash crop plant systems.



Prof. David Burke (Department of Biology, CWRU & The Holden Arboretum)

Recyclable Antibacterial Composite Materials 

Our group is also interested in developing low-cost, reusable, and fast-acting antibacterial agents based on composite magnetic materials. We are designing these hybrid materials to effectively target and eradicate pathogenic bacterial cells. Moreover, we can use an external AC magnetic field excitation source to generate localized heating that can promote the disintegration of harder to treat bacterial biofilms.