Lab Members

Principle Investigator

Dr Sid Pathak

Assistant Professor, Materials Science and Engineering


Department of Materials Science and Engineering

2220BP Hoover Hall

528 Bissell Road

Ames, IA 50011-1096

Phone: 515-294-9280

Graduate Students

Material Science and Engineering


Manish Kumar

I am a PhD student in Materials Science and Engineering at Iowa State University, Ames. I developed interest in research during an internship at the Indian Institute of Technology(IIT), Madras. After that, I was awarded a summer research fellowship by the Indian Academic of Science, India. My research during 3rd year of undergrad study was focused on “Development of Ceramic Matrix Composite Coating on Metal Substrate by lases cladding”. In Final Year, I worked on the piezoelectric performance of Electrospun Poly(Vinylidene Fluoride) non-wovens.

Currently, I am pursuing my PhD under the guidance of Dr. Sid Pathak. My research is focused on the local structure-property relationships of solders in Terrestrial vs. Microgravity environments.

Apart from my research, I like to go hiking, long-distance biking, and playing cricket & badminton. I spend my free time reading books and watching sci-fi videos.

Skye Supakul

I am a Material Science and Engineering graduate from the University of Nevada, Reno with a nuclear materials emphasis and a minor in batteries and energy storage technologies.

Prior to graduating, I was conducting research with the Chemistry Department on carbon dioxide fuel cell catalysts on carbon substrates for enhanced product selectivity. My interests include performing research on new and advanced materials for the storage and containment of energy systems. I am planning on pursuing a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering under the guidance of Dr. Pathak.

Apart from my studies and research, I enjoy hiking, cooking, drawing portraits, and going to various coffee shops. I like to volunteer at the local Thai temple and help my community to promote diversity and education. I find pleasure in trying various new cuisines, and I hope that in the future, I may be able to travel around the world to experience their culture and food.

Cayla Harvey

I am currently in the Ph.D. program in materials science and engineering. I started working with Dr. Pathak in January 2016 on analyzing the nanomechanical behavior of vertically aligned carbon nanotubes (VACNT) reinforced by intertube bridging that was introduced by a Focused-Ion Beam (FIB). I analyzed stress and strain data from compression tests conducted on VACNT pillars of varying diameters.

In the spring of 2016, I received a scholarship from the Nevada National Science Foundation EPSCoR UROP program to continue this research. I have presented this work at various conferences in the past year. During Summer 2017 I worked as a visiting student at Los Alamos National Laboratory on the nanomechanical behavior of the omega phase resulting from dynamic shock loading of titanium and zirconum.

Aside from engineering, I am interested in everything culinary and food-related. I enjoy cooking, experimenting in the kitchen, and researching food science. When I am not in the kitchen, I practice power yoga, hike, and spend time with my family.


Undergraduate Students

Materials Science and Engineering

Soren Hellyer

I am an undergraduate student pursuing a degree in Materials Engineering at Iowa State. I came to Iowa State because of all the research opportunities and the beautiful campus. The materials program at Iowa State was very encouraging because of its helpful staff, great facilities, and plenty of research opportunities. I am working under Dr. Sid Pathak & Manish Kumar on the structures and properties of solders produced in Terrestrial vs. Microgravity environments project.


Outside of my studies, I like to play board games. My weekends are often spent watching and playing soccer. I love listening to music and playing trumpet in the Iowa State Symphonic Band.

Nicholas Oldham

I am an undergraduate student pursuing a degree in Materials Science and Engineering and a minor in mathematics. I am enjoying my time at Iowa State as I explore the many programs and opportunities made available by the MSE department. I work under Dr. Sid Pathak & Manish Kumar on the Structure & Properties of Solder Produced in Terrestrial & Microgravity Environments project. In this project, I’ve gained the skills and knowledge necessary to assist in the operation of Scanning Electron Microscopes and Nano Indenters.

Outside of my class and lab work, I am the treasurer for my local Materials Advantage chapter, and I am involved with the Iowa State Fencing club. I spend my weekends exploring Ames and doing the Wordle. And the Nerdle. And the Octurdle. And the…


Materials Science and Engineering

Dr Soumya Varma

I have enjoyed science as far back as I can remember. Therefore, my interest in science and engineering drove me to pursue my undergraduate studies in Materials Science and Metallurgical Engineering at Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology, Bhopal, India and afterward filling in as a Research Fellow at the Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur India. It was my deep interest in the world of academia that drove me further to pursue a Ph.D.

I’m currently pursuing my Ph.D. under the guidance of Professor Siddharth Pathak at the department of Materials Science and Engineering University of Nevada, Reno. My research interests include the mechanical behavior of materials, the study of materials’ behavior over lower length scales (micron to submicron levels), and using the spherical nano-indentation stress-strain curve as a surrogate to micropillar compression.

Apart from my work I also enjoy reading books and inventing new recipes in my kitchen. I love dancing and would like to travel the whole world one day.


Deeksha Kodangal

I’m currently pursuing my M.Engr. in Materials Science and Engineering. I developed an interest in research in my second year of undergraduate study where I worked on glass-ceramics. The use of characterization techniques drew my interest. I started working in the Quality Control Division in Bharat Forge, Pune where I felt to extend my knowledge and hence, I applied for Ph.D. under Dr. Pathak. I’ve been a part of Dr. Pathak’s group from January 2020.

My research is focused on small-scale characterization of Additive Manufactured Lamella Shape Memory Alloy Structures and understanding the pseudo-elastic and shape memory behavior in SMAs.

Apart from studies, I like singing, watching cricket and playing outdoor games. I’m a sport enthusiast. I also like reading detective novels and writing poems.

Anugraha TK

Anugraha TK  Graduated in January 2022 in Materials Science and Engineering.

The description of her work at UNR:

My first brush towards research was in the third year of undergraduate study where I worked on the characterization of Titanium alloy, an essential material in aerospace applications. Continuing this endeavor, I started my research under the guidance of Dr. Siddhartha Pathak from January 2019. I will be working on micromechanical testing of Mg-Nb nanocomposites.

Apart from my studies, I spend time practicing yoga, running, and reading books.



Dr Sezer Picak

I’m a postdoctoral researcher in Sid Pathak`s research group.  I earned my PhD degree in Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M University, College Station, TX.  I graduated with first-class honors from the Department of Mechanical Engineering`s undergraduate program at Selcuk University, Turkey. I was awarded with a National MSc/MA Scholarship Program in the Priority Fields in Science and Technology by TUBITAK, Turkey in 2012-2014. I received a M.S in Mechanical Engineering from Gazi University, Turkey in 2014. My research interests include hardening behavior of Medium and High entropy Alloys (M/HEAs), severe-plastic deformation in M/HEAs, low-cycle fatigue response of M/HEAs and direct TEM observation of microstructural evolution in metallic systems.

My postdoctoral research focuses on investigating the mechanical properties of a deposited metal-MAX nanocomposite and/or MAX phase thin film relative to the specific deposition or relative to reference material systems.


Dr Manish Jain

Dr Manish Jain graduated in May 2019 and currently works as a Post Doc at EMPA, Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology.

The description of his work at UNR:

I grew up in India and received my Master’s degree in Materials Science and Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur in 2015. I worked on the research topic “Porous alumina template by selective dissolution of Ni from sintered Al2O3-Ni composite” and published this research in a peer reviewed journal. I joined University of Nevada as a Graduate Research Assistant for my PhD in Materials Engineering in Spring 2016. My primary research interests include mechanical behavior of materials, in-situ microscopy, deformation characteristics of materials and powder metallurgy. I worked on  “Micro-Mechanical Testing of Mg-Nb Nano layered Composites for Ultra-High Strength and Formability” as a part of my PhD thesis in close collaboration of Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico. With the intense need to reduce vehicle gas consumption and greenhouse emissions, lightweight Mg alloys are attractive replacements for the mild steels presently used in car bodies. Mg alloys have a high strength-to-weight ratio and low density, being 35% lighter than Al and 78% lighter than steel, and for every 10% decrease in vehicle weight fuel economy improves by an estimated 7%.

Apart from that I am an outdoor enthusiast like to play almost all sports, skiing, hiking and biking. Reno is a beautiful place with nice weather and I was pretty much involved in all these activities as well.

Noah Meyer

Materials Science and Engineering Student

I joined UNR as a junior undergraduate pursuing a degree in Materials Science and Engineering with an emphasis in nuclear materials.  I began in Dr. Sid’s research group in September 2019 and worked with graduate student Skye Supakul in analyzing nanoindentation data on MAX phase-niobium nanocomposites (MNNs).  These materials are of interest due to their potential application in the next generation of nuclear power plants.  In December 2019, my proposal for the Nevada Undergraduate Research Award (NURA) for this research was chosen for funding.  In the future, I plan to pursue a master’s degree in Materials Science and Engineering while continuing research.
Outside of university, I enjoy gaming, playing piano and guitar, and hiking with my family.
Melanie Michel

Materials Science and Engineering Student

I am pursuing a dual bachelors degree in Chemical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering with a biomedical emphasis, which will be completed spring 2020. My interest in bio-materials lead me to this field. As of October 2017, I have been a member of Prof. Pathak’s research group. This year I was awarded a Nevada Space Grant Consortium Undergraduate Research Scholarship for a project to investigate the difference between soldering on Earth and in space. This NASA based research aims to determine the local structure-property relationships in solders created in terrestrial and micro-gravity environments. I will conduct and analyze spherical nano-indentation experiments combined with microstructural analysis on the NASA solder samples created in the International Space Station (ISS) and on Earth in order to evaluate their nanomechanical behavior. In my free time I work for the Mobile Engineering Education Lab where I give K-12 students lessons on engineering topics.

Jonathan Gutierrez
Materials Science and Engineering Student

I joined UNR as a senior undergraduate pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Materials Science and Engineering, with an emphasis in Nuclear Materials with an expected graduation in Spring 2020. I began working with Dr. Pathak in November of 2018, and the work I have been focusing on was on microstructural analysis on NASA solder samples which were created in microgravity on the International Space Station during the In Space Solder Investigation (ISSI). This work is being done in order to determine the local-structure-property relationships in solders created in a terrestrial environment, such as earth, and micro-gravity environments such as in space. As my degree’s emphasis would suggest, my primary interests are in the nuclear field and I have been accepted into the Navy’s Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate Program (NUPOC) as a Nuclear Submarine Officer. Aside from work at the university, I enjoy hunting, fishing, backpacking, and working a horse ranch.

Yi Teng Lee

Chemical Engineering Student

I joined UNR as a senior undergraduate student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering, with expected graduation in Spring 2019. I started working with Dr. Pathak in May 2018 on analyzing the nano-mechanical behavior of irradiated materials (such as Zirconium) and the enamel in a hadrosaurid Edmontosaurus. Aside from analyzing the stress-strain data, I also learned to use various materials characterization methods in this research laboratory. In regards of my chemical engineering major, my general interests lie in the renewable energy sector.


Cordero Nuanez

PhD Student at the University of California San Diego
BS in Materials Science and Engineering from UNR

I am Cordero Nuanez and I am a 28-year-old former sergeant in the United States Marine Corps. I have completed two tours of duty to Iraq and Afghanistan, but prior to leaving the USMC scientists came to one of my last mortar shoots to develop a new type of mortar. From this point on I wanted to become an engineer or a scientist. I was honorably discharged from the Marine’s in the summer and started at the University of Nevada, Reno that fall. I enrolled at UNR to seek a bachelor’s degree in Materials Science and Engineering with a minor in Nanotechnology and am to graduate in the spring of 2017. I worked with Dr. Siddhartha Pathak on vertically aligned carbon nanotubes (VACNT) synthesized from Carbide Derived Carbon (CDC). The research project title was mechanical response of vertically aligned carbon nanotube (VACNT) brushes reinforced by intertube bridging. I analyzed all the data in the research project creating engineering stress vs strain graphs out of the data collected. Also, I created multiple graphs and figures for all the data sets (i.e. 0.2% Yield, Moduli, Fracture Points, Summary File, etc.). My research interests are creating stronger lighter materials, Kevlar, how to improve Kevlar and anything that is dealing with taking or analyzing imagery of nanomaterials. I recently have been accepted to the McNair Scholars Post-bacculearate Program. I belong to the Wolfpack Veterans Club and AIChE professional society on campus.

I am very active when I am outside of school whether it be hiking, fishing, or going to the lake. I usually take part in the summer and winter basketball city league with my close friends. My wife and I like taking our animals to the park and for walks. If we were near a beach that had waves you wouldn’t be able to get me out of the water, since surfing is my all-time favorite thing to do. Otherwise I like watching movies, playing video games, and going to the gym.


Cody Falconer

PhD Student at the University of Wisconsin – Madison
BS in Materials Science and Engineering from UNR

I joined as a senior pursuing my degree in material science and engineering. Outside of school I do not follow any one specific hobby. Instead I enjoy taking a break and doing any activity where I can find some fun. As an undergraduate I have had the chance to do some very exciting work. I have had the opportunity of being a discussion group leader where I taught a group of biology students more in depth details on some of the more general concepts they were learning in lecture. I have also had the incredible experience of being a summer intern working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory for two summers now. Currently I am working as an undergraduate research assistant with Dr. Pathak.
At Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, I was working with a group doing projection micro-stereolithography. There I learned how to model test pieces using Autodesk Inventor software and how to adjust the projection parameters to optimize my printed pieces. I also collected data on the test pieces in order to create a limit on the resolution of one of the projection systems. Working with Dr. Pathak, I have analyzed data collected from nanoindentation on gold foam. The objective of this work was to measure how the mechanical properties of the gold foam, like the loading and unloading modulus, change once the gold foam has been treated with neon radiation.

Ethan Skemp

Chemical and Computer Science Engineering Student

I was born and raised in California by my mother and grandparents. After graduating high school, I moved to Brazil for one year to learn Portuguese and delay adulthood for another year. After one semester at a junior college in California I moved to Reno where I started studying chemical engineering. As a chemical engineering student the areas that I find most interesting are process optimization and materials science. I started researching with Dr. Pathak in February of 2016 where my work has been focused on the utilization of mathematical software to facilitate data analysis. My efforts have been mostly focused in MatLab for video processing and data organization for vertically aligned carbon nanotubes, nano-lamellar metal-metal composites, and nano-lamellar metal-ceramic composites. Upon completion of my bachelor’s degree, I intend to enter industry and begin my career.