Lessa Grunenfelder

Lessa Grunenfelder received her PhD in materials science from the University of Southern California, where she was a researcher in the M.C. Gill Foundation Composites Center. Her work was focused on out-of-autoclave processing of composite prepregs for aerospace applications. Lessa has joined the Kisailus lab as a postdoctoral scholar to examine structure-function relationships in biological specimens, specifically the tough and impact-resistant Stomatopod dactyl club and the abrasion-resistant radular teeth of Cryptochiton Stelleri. The goal of these investigations is to develop and manufacture next generation biomimetic composite materials.

Jianxin Zhu

I am a third year graduate student in the Material Science and Engineering program. My current project involves the development of biologically inspired synthesis of nanostructured Li-ion cathodes. I received my Masters degree in Chungchun University of Technology, focused on the energy area research, specifically, solid oxide fuel cell electrolyte (CeO2) study. I worked for one year in Hefei GuoXuan High-Tech Power Energy CO., LTD (a lithium ion battery company) as an engineer. I have passion to many things in our daily life like cooking, gardening, jewelry-making, knitting, volunteering and reading, etc.

Wenting Hou

I am a 4th year graduate student in department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering at UCR. My current projects involves the development of nanostructured TiO2 and ZnO for sensitized solar cells. I received my BS in Chemical Engineering at Dalian University of Technology in China. Besides doing experiments;), I love traveling, cooking, shopping, and watching Grey's Anatomy in my comfortable couch.

Nichola Kinsinger

Nichola Kinsinger received her B.S. from University of California Riverside in 2008 and is currently a Ph.D graduate student in the department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Riverside and a National Defense Science and Engineering Fellow. I am a Riverside native which has made me passionate about the local environment as well as our quality of life which has inspired my interest in this research. As well I am active in several student organizations on campus as well as community organizations to motivate girls to pursue science and engineering careers to better our communities. I also enjoying on the weekends gardening and various outdoor activities such as bike riding and have been playing the clarinet for about 15 years.

Christopher Salinas

I am a 3rd year graduate student in department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering at UC Riverside. My current projects involve the investigation of nano and microstructural features in impact resistant and biologically luminescent organisms and their mimicry. I received my BS in Chemical Engineering at UC Riverside in 2009. Outside of the lab I enjoy riding my bicycle and barbecuing.

Previous Group Members

  • Mandeep Kular - Kansas State University
  • Neha Dhiman - Kansas State University
  • Dr. James Weaver - Wyss Institute, Harvard
  • Shermin Arab - USC
  • Dr. Dongsheng Li - Lawrence Berkeley National Lab
  • Dr. Michiko Nemoto - Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology
  • John Johnson - Process Safety Engineer with Risk Management Professionals, Irvine, CA
  • Dr. Qianqian Wang - Riverside, CA
  • Dr. Garrett Milliron - Post-doctoral researcher, Max Planck Institute, Potsdam, Germany

Mantis shrimp utilize a dactyl club to smash open the shells of many impressive oceanic biominerals. We are studying the structural features, such as the helicoidal design seen here in a model and fracture surface, which contribute to the material's ultra high toughness. Using advanced characterization and theory we are gleaning many insights which have lead to applicable improvements in the impact resistance of modern composite materials.
Nacre is found in the interior of Abalone shells. It is composed of interlocking tablets of calcium carbonate, which results in tough defensive structure.
Cryptochiton Stelleri, a common inhabitant of the rocky shores of the temperate Northeastern Pacific(A), graze for algae on hard substrates using a specialized rasping organ called the radula, a conveyor belt-like structure located in the mouth( B). The radular teeth are hard and abrassion resisitant as they rasp away the rock together with algae and make the mushroom-like island (A). The goal of this project is to learn from the structure – function relationship of the radular teeth and make biomimetic abrassion resistant composites (C) that can be used in industry, such as oil drilling and machining tools (D, E).