REU Site: Exploring Aerospace Research at the Intersection of Mechanics, Materials Science, and Aerospace Physiology

PI Foram Madiyar

This Project is founded by National Science Foundation, under REU site. This project aims to educate students and promote scientific research in materials and aerospace science that encompasses not only building lighter and smarter materials for aerospace applications but also understanding the impact of the space environment on physiological and biological changes.

This Site will focus on multidisciplinary research in aerospace engineering, chemistry, and applied space biology with a goal of improving future space materials science and human diagnostic technology by exposing students to the challenges in these areas and the research going on to solve them. Undergraduate students for a ten-week summer will be recruited for the program. The student recruitment will start in Nov 2021 and the first summer research will be held in the period of May 16 to July 18, 2022.

The ERAU-REU program is dedicated to the ideals of diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion and we ensure a safe and comfortable environment for all scholars.  Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns about the housing accommodations or other aspects of the program.

Students from underrepresented groups in the sciences, veterans, disabled, or are early in their undergraduate coursework (rising sophomores or juniors) are especially encouraged to apply.

Research Areas:

1 - Additive Manufacturing of Shape-Stabilized Phase-Change Materials (PCMs)

Mentor: Prof. Sandra Boetcher (

The goal of the proposed research is to manufacture shape-stabilized PCMs via additive manufacturing.

2 - Space Radiation: Study of Intracellular Reactive Oxygen Species

Mentor: Prof. Hugo Castillo (

The goal of this project is to produce a standardized technique to measure the intracellular concentration of ROS in different species of bacteria and yeast, in relation to chronic exposure to sub-lethal doses of ionizing radiation using a low-dose gamma irradiator allowing to quantify the oxidative stress status of the cell concerning DNA damage.

3 - Investigating Micro- and Nano-Plastics in the Confined Environment of Space Flight.

Mentor: Prof. Marwa El-Sayed (

The proposed study aims to characterize atmospheric MNP in indoor environments. The goals of the study are 1) identification of the sizes, shapes and size distribution of MNP in the atmosphere, 2) characterization of the chemical composition of atmospheric MNP, 3) determination of the degradation processes and 4) identification of the health issues associated with these particles.

4 - Investigation of Space Biomechanics and Additive Manufacturing of the Orthopedics

Mentor: Prof. Victor Huayamave (

The participants will learn about (1) current state of space biomechanics research, (2) segmenting anatomical images to develop finite element models, and (3) 3D printed components using additive manufacturing. The computational pipeline will be introduced to the predictive power of the FEM to assess the structural integrity of the hip joint under microgravity conditions.

5 - Fabrication of a Flexible, Stretchable, and Self-Healable Platform for Aerospace Applications

Mentors: Prof. Foram Madiyar, Prof. Daewon Kim (,

The goal of this project is to investigate the use of polymers not only having tunable electrical and thermal properties, but also reversible bond chemistry that imparts materials high stretchability, exceptional toughness, and self-healability.

6 - On-Site Biomarker Sensing using Flexible Transistors on Skin

Mentor: Prof. Foram Madiyar (

The goal of the project is to design a wearable technology for the real-time screening, diagnosis and multiplex detection of different biomarkers.

7 - Biofidelic Piezoresistive Nanocomposite Multiscale Analysis

Mentor: Prof. Sirish Namilae (

In the proposed research, we will further engineer the electro-mechanical response of the structure through (a) varying the constituents in the silicone matrix and (b) engineering the interface mechanical properties in the core layer.

8 – Fractography using Scanning Electron Microscopy

Prof. Alberto Mello (

This research aims to cover scanning electron microscope (SEM) operation, including energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) and stress analysis. The student will cut and prepare fractured specimens, observe the crack surface under SEM to identify the local pit formation at the plate edge, find the point of crack initiation, and determine the propagation path.

9 - Investigation of Photoresponsive and Thermally Stable Monomeric Structures for Space Applications

Mentor Prof. Javier Santos (

The goal of the project is to investigate the photoresponsive and thermally stable monomeric structures to sense damage, fractures, and changes to space infrastructures.

10 - Investigating Methods to Minimize the Gap between Pre and Post-Space Flight Syndrome

Mentor: Prof. Christine Walck (

We propose to design an optimized lower extremity force acquisition system (LEFAS) that integrates with a lower-body negative pressure (LBNP) box and subject-specific protocols for improved fitness results by taking a computationally simulated optimization approach. 

Research Dates

05/16/2021 to 07/31/2024


  • Foram Madiyar
    Physical Sciences Department
    Ph.D., Kansas State University
    B.S., Pune University
  • Alberto Walter Da Silva Mello
    Aerospace Engineering Department
    Ph.D., The University of Texas at Austin