Cailin Buchanan and Misché Hubbard, PhD students in the U-M Department of Chemical Engineering, have received Mistletoe Research Fellowships. The fellowship program is the flagship initiative of the Momental Foundation and is intended for postdoctoral fellows and advanced PhD candidates.
The joint program involves both a research grant for the student’s current research and a nine-month accelerator program that partners students with hardware startups.
“Being a Mistletoe Research Fellow means that I can devote more time and resources towards the sustainability aspect of my thesis work, which is focused on developing a life cycle-techno economic assessment (LCA-TEA) model for a cerium redox flow battery (Ce-RFB),” said Buchanan. “It gives me the opportunity to understand how startups operate and explore a startup as a potential career path.”
This research aims to develop a model which can determine the suitability of RFBs for renewable energy storage. In doing so, this model would create an analytical model for economic and environmental impacts while also expanding the field of RFBs as a whole.
Hubbard’s research is focused on the self-assembly of inorganic nanostructures, both for suppressing bacterial growth and for photonic devices. She is conducting this research through the Kotov Lab and VanEpps Lab and hopes to find both environmental and biomedical applications for the inorganic nanostructures.
“I’ve always been interested in working at the nexus between engineering and entrepreneurship to understand how researchers translate bench-scale innovation to commercialization,” said Hubbard.
Niloufar Salehi, a recent U-M ChE alum who received her doctorate in both chemical engineering and pharmaceutical sciences and is currently a postdoctoral researcher in the U-M Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences also received a Mistletoe Research Fellowships.
“Being a Mistletoe Research Fellow motivates me to think out of the box,” said Salehi. “This program encourages the path from basic science to real-world applications and specifically in my field of study results in health outcomes. Last but not least the support from this fellowship helped me to invest in my career development plans.”
The Mistletoe Research Fellowship is intended to aid both academia and industry by allowing students and startups to lift each other up through common pursuits. Criteria for applicant consideration include high-level scholarship, interest in community engagement and/or humanitarian projects, a history of institutional and/or field service, and traits such as intellectual curiosity, self-direction, dependability, and cooperation.
Like the greater Momental Foundation, the fellowship is focused on students and startups that can make a positive social and/or humanitarian impact.