Getting to Know Associate Dean Andre Palmer

Andre Palmer in the library

The second installment of the College of Engineering's “Getting to Know” leadership Q&A series features Andre Palmer, associate dean for research in the College of Engineering. Palmer is a professor, Ohio Eminent Scholar and former chair of the William G. Lowrie Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. He is also one of the world’s leading experts in blood substitute research and engineering.

As associate dean, he will lead the research endeavors of faculty and staff, oversee the college’s research operations—totaling more than $138 million in annual research expenditures—and grow strategic industry partnerships.

College of Engineering: Tell us what excites you about this new role?

Andre Palmer: What excites me is the opportunity to catalyze research across the college to help make new research innovations and drive those new innovations into society. I’m just impressed with the breadth of research going on in the college and I want to make sure that all research blossoms and has a fair opportunity to make an impact on society. I want to improve the research environments of all researchers, no matter what research area, so that they can thrive and grow. I want to serve as a catalyst so that everybody can succeed.

CoE: What do you see as the greatest challenge and the greatest opportunity?

Palmer: The greatest challenge is learning about all of the great research that's going on in the college and not overlooking research or technologies that could have huge potential or a great impact in the future. The goal here is to catalyze research across the college, no matter what research you're doing, and giving everybody—students, faculty and staff— the tools to get their technologies out into society.

CoE: You've been teaching and conducting research at Ohio State since 2006. What’s your favorite part of working here?

Palmer, Savannah Moses, Donald Belcher
Professor Palmer and students Savannah Moses and Donald Belcher examine a sample of the red blood cell substitute being developed in Palmer's laboratory

Palmer: I like the people. As a faculty member, I work a lot with students and I get a lot of energy from them because they often come up with great ideas and they have lots of energy. That’s what gets me excited—getting the undergrads and the grad students excited about research and their projects, and seeing them come up with innovative solutions to problems.

CoE: Is there an accomplishment or an accolade that you're most proud of?

Palmer: I don't know if there’s a particular one I’m most proud of, but in terms of service, I’m very proud to be on the advisory board for the Department of Chemical Engineering at my alma mater, Howard University. That gives me a lot of satisfaction.

CoE: Do you have a favorite mentor or someone you've looked up to throughout your life?

Palmer: When I was at Howard University as an undergrad, the Chair of Chemistry Dr. Jesse Nicholson played a large role in introducing me to research. My first year at Howard, I spent a summer in the chemistry department doing research and that really opened up the doors to exploring if a career in research was something I was interested in. During that time, I had opportunities to do industrial internships and also to do research in the lab, and from those experiences, I figured out I did want to go into academia, start my own lab and develop my own technologies. So, Dr. Nicholson played a big role in giving me the opportunity to pursue academia as an option.

CoE: What makes you passionate about the research that you do?

Palmer: One of the main focus areas of my research program is to develop biomaterials that can be used as artificial red blood cells or plasma in transfusion medicine, so what’s exciting about that is that these materials could potentially help patients who have experienced acute blood loss or anemia. So, if you lose blood, I’m making materials that could be used to replace that lost blood volume and that biomedical impact is what excites me. I'm making materials that could be used to keep people alive, and that possibility drives me.

CoE: And outside of work, what are your favorite hobbies or interests?

Palmer: One of my favorite activities is hiking, so I like to go to parks and explore nature. I like to spend a lot of time at Franklin Park Conservatory. The other hobby I like is seeing the latest movies, so I like to go to the theater and check out new action and science fiction flicks.

by Meggie Biss, College of Engineering Communications |

Category: Faculty
Tag: Palmer