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From micro to MACRO

  • UMES senior earns full Ivy League graduate school scholarship

    Friday, November 1, 2019
    Ayobami Ogunmolasuyi

    Getting accepted to an Ivy League school is a dream come true for most college students; being pursued by one is difficult to imagine.

    But that's the position Ayobami Ogunmolasuyi, a UMES senior who was born in Nigeria, was fortunate to find himself in heading into his final semester.

    When Ogunmolasuyi graduates with honors in December with an engineering degree (mechanical specialization), he'll head immediately to Hanover, N.H. to enter graduate school on full scholarship at Dartmouth College.  He'll be a doctoral student in engineering science in the renowned Thayer School of Engineering.

    The Ivy League school “discovered” Ogunmolasuyi a year ago when he presented his research findings on the role microfluidics and microchannels play in drug development during the Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students.  His undergraduate research has been conducted under the tutelage of Dr. Kausiksankar Das, associate physics professor.

    “It was a good feeling,” the Henson honors program student said.  “God is at work.”

    A microchannel is a microtechnology term for a conduit with a hydraulic diameter smaller than 1 millimeter and typically is used in fluid control and heat transfer.  Microfluidics, the study of fluid flow and mixing in microchannels, has various applications, Ogunmolasuyi said, the most important of which are the functional organs on a chip.  

    “These are functional human organs on a microchip, which include the kidney-on-a-chip and lungs-on-a-chip for testing drugs,” he said.  

    “The bottleneck that the microfluids industry faces,” he said, “is the inability of fluids to mix perfectly in these channels due to the miniature size of the mixing chamber, which is where our lab has stepped in.”

    Ayobami Ogunmolasuyi with his microchannel experiment

    Ogunmolasuyi said researchers in the field are exploring such analytical methods as “periodic slip” and “no slip” boundary conditions, and “baker's transformation” in hopes of deriving an efficient mixing technique for fluids in microchannels.

    After the November 2018 conference in Indianapolis, a Dartmouth representative reached out to Das expressing interest in talking to Ogunmolasuyi about an opening in the lab.  He visited Dartmouth in August and had a full scholarship offer with a stipend in hand a month later.

    “I'll be working with the senior associate dean of the Thayer School of Engineering on ice mechanics research … (ironically) not the original person who contacted me.  He snatched me from him,” Ogunmolasuyi said with a laugh.

    What does the future hold for Ogunmolasuyi, who has a 3.8 GPA?  His goal is to become a fluid mechanics researcher and starting his own company.

    Das, his mentor, couldn't be prouder.  

    “Achieving that feat … shows our students have the talent and potential to reach any peak of excellence in their career,” Das said.  “I have no doubt … Ayobami will continue to achieve more laurels and make us proud.”

    Ogunmolasuyi is a recipient of a Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation fellowship and peer tutor in UMES' Center for Access and Academic Success.

    He also has been part of a Das-led team of student-researchers examining data and video from the Canadian Space Administration's zero-gravity experiments that focus on the stability of rotating solid objects when gravity's effect is negligible.

    Research in Das' physics lab, where UMES undergraduates are getting hands-on experience, is supported by funding from the National Science Foundation, the Department of Education and the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute.

    A version of this article was initially generated by the communications' office of UMES' School of Agricultural and Natural Sciences - Extension Service Office.