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Two postdocs at U. Pittsburgh

Two post-doctoral positions are available in the lab of Sachin Velankar in the Dept. of Chemical Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh to conduct experimental research on the biomechanics of surface texturing in cephalopods (octopus or cuttlefish), and to devise reversibly-morphing surfaces.  These animals are famous for their camouflage abilities.  Like many other animals, cephalopods can change their color, but in addition, they can also change the texture of their skin by expressing protuberances or wrinkles.  This research aims to elucidate the biomechanics of texture changes and devise biomimetic surfaces that change their surface topography in response to stimulus.

One post-doc position is collaborative with Prof. Roger Hanlon of Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA. It will involve measuring mechanical properties and structural characterization of cephalopod tissues.  Accordingly, experimental expertise with structural and mechanical characterization of soft tissues, and background knowledge of tissue mechanics is critical.

A second position involves fabricating reversibly-morphing surfaces using synthetic soft materials.  The ideal candidate will have an experimental research background in at least one of the following areas: smart materials (e.g. shape memory alloys, electroactive  polymers, artificial muscles, etc.), or composite materials, or soft materials (soft biological tissues, elastomers, hydrogels, etc.), or robotics.  A general familiarity with mechanics, at least at the undergraduate level, is critical.

This research is funded by a grant from the U.S. Air Force.  The post-doctoral fellow will have substantial independence in pursuing his/her own research ideas, and this fellowship would be an excellent platform to launch their own independent career.  This project also offers opportunities to collaborate with an expert on numerical simulation. A commitment of roughly 1.5 years is expected, although a somewhat shorter or longer period can be considered.

Interested candidates should email


Sachin Velankar
Associate Professor
Dept. of Chemical Engineering
University of Pittsburgh
PA 15261 USA
Ph. 412-624-9984
Fax 412-624-9639

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