UC Professor Wins Fulbright to Conduct Research on Nano Technology in Canada

Chia-Chi Ho, UC professor of chemical engineering, will serve as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of British Columbia.

Date: 9/29/2011 12:00:00 AM
By: Lauren Koch
Photos By: Katie Hageman

Dr. Ho

Chia-Chi Ho, UC Fulbright Scholar

Associate Professor Chia-Chi Ho of the University of Cincinnati’s College of Engineering and Applied Science's chemical engineering program will spend the spring and summer of 2012 at the University of British Columbia as a Fulbright Scholar.

There, she will conduct research related to nanoscale technology and neuronal networks. Her goal is to apply micro fabrication and nanotechnology to construct precisely designed geometrical networks of neuronal clusters. Neurons form the connective pathways within the brain and are responsible for memory and reasoning.

Ho is working to determine the specific mechanisms of neuron interaction and how the interactions can be influenced or imitated. As part of her research, she plans to design a photo-switchable surface coated with a new light-sensitive molecule that can be converted from cell-phobic to cell-philic with light in order to dynamically guide the formation of neuronal connections in networks.

Ho will be working with Terrence Snutch in the Michael Smith Laboratory. “Dr. Snutch’s lab is one of the leaders in the study of the molecular mechanisms of signal transduction in the nervous system and its relationship to neurological disorders,” describes Ho. “My engineering background can provide complementary expertise for system design based on actual neuronal interaction.”

Dr. Ho with students

Chia-Chi Ho with grad student Kyu-Shik Mun and Bo Chen, post doc. researcher

She will focus her efforts on exchanging information and collaborating with other researchers who will be working in the lab. Ho looks forward to utilizing the strong emphasis on interdisciplinary interaction and overlap of interest among the 250 research personnel present in the laboratory.

When describing her focus while at the University of British Columbia she says, “I will be learning molecular, electrophysiological, pharmacological and biochemical techniques to help design better and more efficient micro systems for studying neurons. This experience will enable me to pursue new research areas and new courses that will benefit our students in energy, environmental, biological and biomedical engineering.”

Ho has been teaching and conducting research at UC for more than ten years and has received a number of awards for teaching and mentoring students. Her research has garnered more than $3,000,000 in funding.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the United States government. The program is designed to increase understanding between the people of the U.S. and the people of other countries. The Fulbright Program awards around 8,000 new grants each year, and the program currently has scholars in over 155 countries worldwide.