MAE PhD student earns prestigious Presidential Fellowship
This fellowship, which is the most prestigious award presented by the Graduate School, recognizes the scholarly accomplishments and potential of outstanding graduate students entering the final stage of their dissertation research.
With the support of this award, Rangharajan’s dissertation research, “Engineering Nanofluidic Systems to Control and Manipulate the Transport of Ions, Molecules and Fluids,” targets diverse applications while exploring the principles of microscale and nanoscale transport phenomena.
“Kaushik is a 'can do' student, who is always enthusiastic about pursuing new ideas,” said Associate Professor Shaurya Prakash, who serves as Rangharajan’s advisor in the Microsystems and Nanosystems Laboratory. “It is a joy to discuss ideas with him and then see the ideas being implemented with thought and effort.”
Rangharajan’s research is having a real-world impact. He is developing novel methods to desalinate the excessively salty water that arises during unconventional oil-gas extraction. His work is also contributing to the healthcare industry, where he is exploring the role of local fluid mechanics and the electrical environment in regulating the formation of new blood vessels.
In addition to this honor, Rangharajan received a 2017 travel grant to present at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ flagship annual meeting on Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (IEEE MEMS). This year, he also won an $8,000 Student Research Project Grant from the university’s Office of Energy and Environment. His project, “Buckeye Shale Desalter,” is testing the feasibility of scaling up an innovative nanoscale platform to desalt flowback water arising from hydraulic fracturing.
He has published in peer-reviewed journals including Soft Matter and Nano Letters, and has served as a lead author on three published articles. Rangharajan is one of only 24 graduate students to receive this prestigious award this spring. He is co-advised by Terry Conlisk, professor emeritus of mechanical and aerospace engineering.
“I am deeply honored to receive the Presidential Fellowship and am especially thankful to our team for making the learning process enjoyable over the past five years,” Rangharajan said. “With this award, I look forward to better my understanding of transport phenomena at the micro and nanoscale — and in the process, strive for innovation.”
Rangharajan earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science in 2012.