Grad Student Earns Prestigious Postdoc Fellowship

Aug. 8, 2016 - Materials science and engineering graduate student David D. Ordinario has received a postdoctoral fellowship from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. Ordinario, who is creating an ultra-flexible ionic e-skin that can facilitate direct communication between biological systems and electronics, will work for two years at the University of Tokyo with Takao Someya, a world-renowned expert on flexible electronics.

The JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowship Program for Foreign Researchers is highly competitive; the program received 1,265 applications this year and awarded only 120 fellowships.

Ordinario seeks to develop a new type of electronic skin – a material that can mimic the functionality of human skin for use in healthcare, robotics and prosthetics – that can communicate directly with biological systems. Currently, this is not possible because available e-skins use electrons to carry charges, while living systems rely on ions and protons, necessitating a complex system of indirect detection and communication. “This ionic e-skin can facilitate direct communication between ionic/protonic conduction-based biological systems and traditional electronics,” Ordinario says. The material also will be sensitive to both physical and chemical stimuli, and more biocompatible with living tissue and organs.

Ordinario’s adviser, chemical engineering and materials science professor Alon Gorodetsky, calls Ordinario one of the department’s most talented students. In addition to co-authoring more than 30 presentations, Ordinario has published eight papers in prestigious journals, including Nature Chemistry, with three of his papers highlighted in Popular Science and some receiving recognition as “editor’s pick,” “cover feature” and “hot paper.”

“David has an incredible track record as a graduate student at UCI,” Gorodetsky says. “This is a highly competitive international award and getting the fellowship is a tremendous achievement.”

-Anna Lynn Spitzer