CHEMS Graduate Student Receives Prominent NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program Award

Shehreen Dheda earns three-year award to study titanium for biomedical applications
Shehreen Dheda, a second-year materials science and engineering Ph.D. student in the laboratory of Professor Farghalli Mohamed, Ph.D., was awarded a prestigious fellowship of $30,000 per year, for three years, from the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program. This program invests in graduate education for students who demonstrate the potential to successfully complete graduate degree programs in disciplines relevant to the mission of the National Science Foundation to ensure the vitality of the human resource base of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in the United States.
Dheda’s proposal, titled “Processing and Characterization of Titanium for Biomedical Applications,” outlined her research for applying an innovative processing technique to produce bulk nanocrystalline titanium for improving the properties of titanium for biomedical applications. Applying her dual training in materials science and engineering and biomedical engineering, Dheda will work with undergraduate students from various engineering and science fields in an interdisciplinary effort to improve titanium for its application as a material for biomedical implants, including joint replacements and dental implants.
Titanium alloys that are currently used in biomedical implants are stronger than pure titanium, but their alloy elements – the metals they are mixed with – can diffuse into the body.  Dheda’s research will focus on exploring new processing techniques that could result in enhancing the strength of pure titanium. Other properties that will be investigated include resistance to corrosion and biological compatibility.
Dheda, who received a B.S. degree in biomedical engineering and an M.S. degree in materials science and engineering from UC Irvine, participates in the Materials Outreach Program, led by Mohamed, and is treasurer of the Chemical Engineering and Materials Science Graduate Student Association.

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