Brian Cromer is originally from Papillion, Nebraska. In addition to receiving a B.S. in Polymer Science and Engineering, summa cum laude, from Case Western Reserve University, he was awarded a Provosts Scholarship as well. He received an M.S. in Polymer Science and Engineering subsequent to attending UMass Amherst.
Brian worked on several research projects within the Biomedical Engineering Department at Case Western Reserve University. Between his sophomore and junior years, he was an NSF REU student under the direction of Dr. Junmin Zhu. Through their research, they applied polymer structure-function relationships to design a coating that mimics the surface character of the cell glycocalyx. Brian then transitioned to Professor Roger Marchant's research group to use polymer science to engineer synthetic vascular grafts for coronary artery prosthesis. In another project, he synthesized peptide fluorosurfactant polymers to facilitate endothelial cell adhesion to biomaterial substrates, as well as poly(ethylene oxide) hydrogels for tissue engineering.
Why did Brian choose PSE? He states, "I was initially attracted to UMass PSE by the prestigious faculty and academic record. When I visited PSE, I discovered the uniquely cooperative approach to research. Collaborations and ideas flow freely between research groups in a diversity of disciplines. I also appreciated the exceptional facilities and resources available within the department."
As a second year student, Brain was awarded a 2012 National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Research Fellowship (NDSEG) in addition to a 2012 NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship (which he declined to accept the NDSEG). The NDSEG is a three-year fellowship awarded to doctoral students pursuing degrees in disciplines of the Department of Defense (DoD) interests'. The program is administered by the American Society for Engineering Education. "I am very grateful for the academic freedom allocated to me through the NDSEG," commented Brian.
Presently, Brian is researching graphene polymer nanocomposites for light weight automobile components. This project is an interesting combination of polymer chemistry and engineering within an industrial context. He also investigates the effects of topological constraints on hydrogel mechanics. Finally, he works with Polyhedral Oligomeric Silsesquioxane (POSS)-based nanocomposites for olefin nucleating agents.
In addition to his studies, Brian enjoys participating in PSE educational outreach programs funded by the MRSEC. He coordinates the ASPIRE program, which brings laboratory experiences in polymer science to local high school students.
In the future, Brian plans to work as a post-doctoral scholar to design high performance materials.