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Emily Downs

emily downs

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About Me

I am from Indianapolis, IN and did my undergraduate at Purdue University in Materials Science and Engineering. I studied abroad at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China as part of my undergraduate and I am currently working on my PhD in Materials Engineering. I have a passion for teaching, and love being able to TA or teach whenever I get the opportunity.


I am a member of Professor Dodick’s, Professor Siegel’s, and Professor Schalder’s groups. Working under these three groups I have been able to work on protein interactions with nanoscale materials. My first project was attachment of cell lytic enzymes to starch particles for decontamination against Listeria. My primary project currently is to show the influence of interfacial and particle surface energy on protein surface conformation and adsorption through the use of a transition metal doped particle.

Undergraduate Education

B.S. Materials Science and Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN. May 2010

Undergraduate Research

Purdue University

  • Biocompatible PEO/LRD/Chitosan gel for Burn Victim Recovery (2007-2008)
    • Designed a biocompatible gel used to replace skin grafts. Tested pH of PEO/LRD/Chitosan samples and performed rheology tests on samples
  • Polymer Composite testing, fabrication, and research (Summer 2008)
    • Characterized various cure methods. Used finite element modeling to predict composite failure. Created several samples using vacuum assisted resin transfer molding (VARTM) with various geometries and pre-preg layups
  • Electromagnetic Induction Fatigue Testing (March 2009-2010)
    • Determined fatigue life and failure mechanism of steels undergoing high thermal stress. Fatigue tested ferrous alloys and performed microstructural analysis.
  • Impact Resistance of Metal Mesh Composites (August 2009- 2010)
    • Senior Design Project
    • Performed drop weight and high-speed impact tests carbon fiber/metal mesh composite


Tsinghua University, China

  • Alginate Derived Biocompatible Bone Substitute (February 2007 – July 2007)
    • Created osteoblast compatible biodegradable scaffolding that could be injected near a fractured bone surface to improve recovery time
    • Performed compression, rheological and biocompatibility tests
  • Polymer based Nanofibers by Electro Spinning (February 2007 – July 2007)
    • Synthesized a super-hydrophobic self-cleaning surface using aligned electro spun nanofibers with a high contact angle.
    • Created aligned and random polymer fiber mats, tested hydrophobicity utilizing contact angle analysis, and used SEM micrographs to determine fiber size.



Wu, H., Zhang, R., Sun, Y., Lin, D., Sun, Z., Pan, W., & Downs, E. (2008). Biomimetic nanofiber patterns with controlled wettability. Soft Matter, 4(12), 2429–2433. doi:10.1039/B805570J

Solanki, K., Grover, N., Downs, E., Paskaleva, E. E., Mehta, K. K., Lee, L., Dordick, J. S. (2013). Enzyme-based listericidal nanocomposites. Scientific Reports, 3, 1584. doi:10.1038/srep01584