The Materials Research Society (MRS) and The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS) have selected Megan Malara, The Ohio State University, as the 2020-2021 MRS/TMS Congressional Science and Engineering Fellow.
Malara earned her B.S. (2014) and Ph.D. (2020) degrees in materials science and engineering from The Ohio State University. She began her specialization in biomaterials with research pertaining to nanoscale polymeric fibers as a platform to sort cancer cells and as a 3D scaffolding for small diameter blood vessels. Malara conducted her graduate research in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Her doctoral research focused on developing the dermal-epidermal junction (DEJ) of cultured skin grafts for the treatment of large total body surface area burns. Using techniques such as photolithography and laser ablation to pattern scaffold surfaces to mimic the native DEJ, Malara conducted in vitro analyses of cell behavior to patterning and in vivo animal studies to translate this technology towards clinical application.
Malara’s interest in science policy began while attending Material Advantage Congressional Visit Days where she connected with the offices of elected officials and offered her experience as a scientist. She continued her interest in policy as a community team leader for a political campaign where she trained and organized volunteers to engage with the public on policy-related issues. Influenced by her Rust Belt upbringing, Malara has policy interests in translating research to manufacturing jobs, increasing opportunities for education, and improving public confidence in science.
By applying her strengths in communication, research, and problem-solving to help legislators apply scientific evidence in support of socially responsible policies, Malara will help to broaden awareness of the value of scientist- and engineer-government interaction.
"I am so grateful to receive the 2020-2021 MRS/TMS Congressional Science and Engineering Fellowship,” Malara said. “During the fellowship year, I look forward to gaining further insight into the role of scientists in policy, and actively engaging in the legislative process. As we find our way through the current health crisis, I aim to lend my technical background in biology and biomaterials to meet the legislative challenges to come.”