Rossin College PhD students Caroline Ferguson (bioengineering) and Joshua Smeltzer (materials science and engineering) have each been awarded a $10,000 Supplemental Stipend Fellowship Award from the Koerner Family Foundation (KFF).

KFF promotes engineering innovation, research, development by supporting graduate students at American engineering institutions. The foundation seeks to inspire future generations of research-oriented engineers while helping the U.S. maintain global competitiveness across all engineering disciplines.

Ferguson is a member of the Lab of Micro- and Nanotechnology for Diagnostics and Biology, led by Xuanhong Cheng, a professor of bioengineering and materials science and engineering.  Ferguson’s research focuses on developing a microfluidic on-chip platform to improve the way several diseases, including cancer and chronic fatigue syndrome, are diagnosed. “By using rapid electrical sensing to probe single cells without traditional labels, we can improve the speed and quantification of results,” she says. “Perhaps more importantly, these systems have the potential to improve diagnostic affordability and access to health care in resource-limited areas, something I'm personally passionate about."

Smeltzer, who is advised by Martin Harmer, Alcoa Foundation Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, conducts research on a new class of materials known as high-entropy alloys. These alloys, which comprise four or more elements, have recently drawn significant attention for their display of unexpected and, in some cases, superior mechanical properties relative to conventional engineering alloys. With the help of Lehigh’s electron microscopy facility, Smeltzer says, he and his collaborators at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory are able to investigate these materials on the atomic scale, providing them with “critical insight into the strengthening and thermal stability mechanisms responsible for their unique behavior.”