Engineer named Materials Research Institute’s associate, acting director

May 31, 2022

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared on Penn State News. It features Zoubeida Ounaies, professor of mechanical engineering and director of the Convergence Center for Living Multifunctional Material Systems in the Penn State College of Engineering.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Materials Research Institute has announced that Zoubeida Ounaies, professor of mechanical engineering and director of the Convergence Center for Living Multifunctional Material Systems (LiMC2), will serve as acting director of MRI during the upcoming sabbatical of Clive Randall, director of MRI and distinguished professor of materials science and engineering. In addition, Ounaies has been named an associate director of MRI.

Randall’s sabbatical will be from January 2023 through December 2023, during which he will focus on his research and authoring a book on electroceramics.

“Through Clive’s strong leadership, and with Zoubeida’s excellent record in materials research, we do not foresee any gaps during this year,” said Lora Weiss, senior vice president for research. “We wholly expect continued growth and impressive scientific and scholarly achievements from MRI, which shows no sign of slowing down. And we thank everyone in advance for providing Zoubeida your fullest support.”

Ounaies noted that she is looking forward to temporarily leading MRI during 2023, given her many positive experiences with the institute during her career at Penn State.

“I am pleased and honored to serve MRI as the acting director," Ounaies said. “MRI has been instrumental in every aspect of my research scholarship — from working with inspiring collaborators to having access to state-of-the-art facilities and accomplished staff and establishing a community of mentors and life-long colleagues. I am excited for the opportunity to give back to this institute by serving the staff, students and faculty of MRI during 2023.”

Ounaies joined the Penn State College of Engineering in 2011. Her expertise in responsive soft materials and dielectric materials for sensing, actuation, and energy harvesting has been recognized through fellowships in the International Society for Optics and Photonics and the American Society of Mechanical Engineering. She is the author of more than 150 published papers in leading journals, refereed proceedings, and invited book chapters, and she is the inventor or co-inventor of eight patents. As director of the LiMC2, she brings together researchers from Penn State and Germany’s University of Freiburg to focus on designing sustainable materials that are biological or inspired by biology. 

“I am very happy to say that I have great confidence that MRI will be in very capable hands with Zoubeida during my absence, due to her track record of research and leadership that stands strong on its own merits,” Randall said.


Share this story:

facebook linked in twitter email


College of Engineering Media Relations