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Graduate Alumni Profiles | Adrienne Minerick

Adrienne Minerick

Adrienne Minerick '03

Advisor: Hsueh-Chia Chang
Thesis Title: Medical Diagnostic Microfluidics and Physiological Blood Flow Dynamics
Undergraduate School: B.S. Michigan Technological University

Current Position

Assistant Professor in the Dave C. Swalm School of Chemical Engineering and in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, Director of the Medical micro-Device Engineering Research Laboratory (M.D. - ERL) Mississippi State University.


My graduate experience at Notre Dame was unparalleled. The philosophy was very much work hard / play hard; I got to work next to some great individuals and made friends (now colleagues) that will last a lifetime. The campus community is friendly with a long history; the resources and traditions are at the level one would see at an institution three times its size.

Mentors / Professors: "Many notable mentors and professors provided advice during my career at ND. Hsueh-Chia Chang is an exceptionally talented researcher who continuously challenges his students. The training I received under his direction prepared me well. The nature of my research was collaborative; I had the honor of working with Agnes Ostafin and Kenneth Olson who patiently mentored me as I learned terminology and techniques in their respective biological fields. As an aspiring professor, I was also given the opportunity to be a Graduate Instructor under Joan Brennecke, who provided a solid foundation from which I built when I began teaching on my own.

My initial research project examined the cardiovascular response of trout using frequency response analysis. Besides learning programming and numerical methods, I became proficient with many time series analysis techniques including the Fourier and Hilbert Transforms. Upon completion of the first phase of the project, I was given the opportunity to influence the future direction of the research. I chose to move toward the microscale and examined red blood cell motion in a 20 micron capillary microdevice. Optimization of the system led to using nonlinear AC fields (dielectrophoresis) to characterize suspensions of red blood cells. In Chia Chang's group, I learned the theoretical as well as the experimental. The close collaboration between professors from different departments gave me the unique opportunity to learn in a truly multidisciplinary environment.

As time has passed, the laundry list of notable accomplishments and prestigious appointments by my friends (now colleagues) has grown ever longer. I've come to realize that I trained next to exceptionally talented individuals and exactly how valuable the training was at Notre Dame. During a recent conversation with another ND graduate turned professor (Nyree McDonald), she mentioned that many of us failed to appreciate what a phenomenal community we had. It was sure a challenge, but a challenge that constructively built solid expertise and character.

In short, the culture in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Notre Dame is that of superior academics and professors who facilitate research opportunities and thus their student's ultimate chance for success. Each of the mentors mentioned above played key roles in developing skills that earned me a tenure- track faculty position at Mississippi State University.

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