Swain Research Group
We thank you for your interest in our research group at Michigan State University. We encourage you to explore this website to learn more about our interdisciplinary research and the students who are engaged in the projects.
Google Scholar: http://scholar.google.com/citations?user=WI4v_OoAAAAJ&hl=en
ResearcherID: B-302302010 http://www.researcherid.com/rid/B-3023-2010
Director, NSF REU Site: Cross-Disciplinary Research in Sustainable Chemistry and Chemical Processes (2014 - present)
Graduate Program Director, Neuroscience Program (2017-2022)
Director of Research Integrity, MSU Office of Research and Innovation (Aug. 2023)
RECR Education Coordinator, MSU Graduate School (2019-present)
MSU Fraunhofer - Center for Coatings and Diamond Technologies
Special Visiting Professor, Keio University (Japan) (2023)
Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Short-Term Research Fellow (2020-2021)
Fulbright Specialist - Czech Republic (2018)
Visiting Professor, Domaine Universitaire, Grenoble, France (summer 2001)
Special Visiting Researcher (CAPES), Universidade Federal de São Carlos (Brazil), 2013-2016
Academic Advancement Network Leadership Fellow, MSU (2018-2019)
Member MSU Steering Committee (2017-2020)
At-Large Member MSU Faculty Senate (2017-2020)
At-Large Member MSU University Council (2017-2020)
ACS Committee on Professional Training, Member (2015-2020)
Editor-in-Chief, Elecroanalysis (Wiley), 2021-present
Editor, Electroanalysis, 2019-2021
Associate Editor, Critical Reviews in Analytical Chemistry, 2014-present
Advisory Board, Advanced Engineering Materials, 2014-present
Editor-in-Chief, Diamond and Related Materials (Elsevier), 2011-2014
Editor, Diamond and Related Materials, 2009-2011
Editorial Board, Diamond and Related Materials (Elsevier), 2006-2015
Research in our group is interdisciplinary and collaborative. We study electrochemical reaction kinetics, mechanisms, and interfacial capacitance at various types of carbon electrodes, including boron-doped diamond (BDD) and nitrogen-incorporated tetrahedral amorphous carbon (ta-C:N), before and after chemical modification. The research utilizes planar thin films, optically transparent electrodes, microelectrodes, and powderous forms of BDD and ta-C:N. Screen-printed and inkjet-printed carbon electrodes are also utilized. A goal is to tailor the properties of these carbon electrodes for optimal application in (i) the study of electrochemical reaction mechanisms and kinetics of soluble redox molecules in room temperature ionic liquids, (ii) in vitro neurochemical analysis in the peripheral nervous system of animal models of disease, (iii) point-of-care diagnostic platforms for animal and human health care, (iv) environmental analysis, (v) molecular separations, and (vi) fuel cell electrode materials.
We also study the preparation, mechanical properties and electrochemical/corrosion behavior of additively manufactured metal alloys (aluminum, titanium and stainless steel) and the use of coating systems for corrosion control and mitigation. A variety of analytical tools are employed in our research including electrochemical and spectroelectrochemical methods of analysis, electron and optical microscopy, optical profilometry, x-ray diffraction, x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and Raman spectroscopy.
We welcome the incoming graduate students in 2023! The following are current research projects available to interested students:
1. Diamond Microelectrode Fabrication and Application in Neurochemical Analysis. Students will work on developing chemical vapor deposition methods for forming thin films of nanocrystalline BDD conformally on Pt wires from 10 to 100 µm in diameter, investigating new insulation methods, and studying the electrochemical behavior of these microelectrodes using fast scan cyclic voltammetry.
Students will also work on using the BDD microelectrodes and electrochemical methods, along with immunohistochemistry and other pharmacological tools, to study excitatory (serotonin, acetylcholine) and inhibitory (ATP and nitric oxide) neuromuscular signaling in vitro in the gastrointestinal tract of test animals for the purpose of learning how potential alterations in neuromuscular signaling are associated with pathological conditions in animal models of obesity and neurodegenerative disease. These projects are collaborative with colleagues in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, and the Neuroscience Program.
2. Point-of-Care Diagnostics for Human and Animal Health Care. In one project, the student will test a first-generation, point-of-care diagnostic technology useful for the clinical monitoring, care delivery, and disease management of human subjects with lung disease. Additionally, we are working on the technology for application in the management of bovine respiratory disease in cattle. The technology will link various disease biomarkers with respiratory disease status. Oxidative and nitrosative stress are linked with respiratory diseases. Therefore, oxidative and nitrosative stress biomarkers and their patterns over time in the animal and human subjects are being measured in exhaled breath condensate (EBC) that is collected non-invasively. The diagnostic electrochemical platform uses chemically-modified screen-printed or inkjet-printed carbon electrodes to detect key biomarkers of oxidative and nitrosative stress including pH, hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), nitric oxide (NO), and peroxynitrite (PON). The project is collaborative with physicians in the College of Medicine and clinicians in the College of Veterinary Medicine.
In a second project, HPLC analysis is being used to probe for chemical patterns reflective of the disease status in EBC specimens collected from human and animal subjects who are healthy and ill with respiratory disease. The goal of the work is to identify other potentially useful chemical patterns that might inform on the disease status and have clinical value in the treatment of respiratory disease.
3. Preparation and Characterization of Electrically Conducting Diamond Powders. The student will use a core-shell approach to prepare high surface area, boron-doped ultrananocrystalline diamond-coated powders for application as a solid phase for (i) molecular separations (e.g., electrochemically modulated liquid chromatography and solid phase extraction) and a dimensionally-stable electrocatalysis support for PEM fuel cells. The same core-shell approach will be used to prepare metal-impregnated high surface area diamond powders for application in electrocatalysis.
4. Additively Manufactured Metal Alloys and Coating Systems for Corrosion Control. The student will research the preparation of additive manufactured (AM), or 3D printed metal alloys. AM is the process of fabricating objects layer-by-layer, as opposed to traditional subtractive manufacturing technologies. We seek to under-stand how the surface texture, alloy microstructure, and elemental composition affect the electrochemical behavior of AM aluminum, steel, and titanium alloys prepared by selective laser melting and fused-filament fabrication methods. It is also of interest to learn how surface pretreatments and coating systems mitigate corrosion on these alloys. Electrochemical methods, various microscopies and surface science tools are being used for material and surface characterization. This project is collaborative with colleagues in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Material Science, and the Fraunhofer USA Center Midwest (CMW). Data below are for the titanium alloy, Ti-6Al-4V, prepared by fused filament fabrication.
Research in the group is presently funded, in some cases collaboratively, by grants from the Army Research Office, Office of Naval Research, Honeywell/DoE, and the National Institutes of Health.