Meet the Team with Postdoctoral Scholar Natalia von Windheim
The second installment of our “Meet the Team” Q&A series features Natalia von Windheim, a postdoctoral scholar working with the Medical Modeling, Materials, and Manufacturing Lab (M4 Lab) at Ohio State’s Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence (CDME). In her role, von Windheim is breaking down the traditional boundaries between disciplines to facilitate the convergence of engineering and medicine.
Von Windheim grew up in North Carolina. She earned her BA in materials science and engineering from North Carolina State University, followed by her MS and PhD in mechanical engineering and materials science from Duke University. During her studies, von Windheim completed the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program at Harvard University, enabling her to spend her summer exploring multidisciplinary research topics.
Uniquely serving CDME and The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, von Windheim guides collaboration between engineers and medical professionals while pursuing evidence-based research for engineering solutions in medicine.
CDME: What made CDME and Ohio State the right fit for you after earning your doctorate from Duke University?
Natalia von Windheim: The multidisciplinary nature of the M4 Lab appealed to me, including engineering and medicine and the focus on applications of new technologies.
CDME: What interests you most about working at the intersection of engineering and medicine?
Natalia von Windheim: Creating solutions that impact patients’ lives – good health is a necessity for which the rest of the quality of life is based on.
CDME: What has been the most exciting part of your work with the M4 Lab?
Natalia von Windheim: The quick pace at which we have grown is exciting – working with more physicians, adding new equipment, and hiring more undergraduates that will get hands on experience and assist with projects. With so many impactful projects, it is difficult to determine what is most important!
CDME: Tell us about a project you’re working on with medical professionals from the Wexner Medical Center.
Natalia von Windheim: I’ve been working on developing custom devices for surgeons and patients—for example, patient-specific anatomic models for craniofacial reconstruction after cancer surgery.
CDME: What influenced you to study and pursue a career within the medical side of engineering?
Natalia von Windheim: Many of the research projects I’ve worked on had some sort of environmental or medical application. During my doctoral studies, my advisor, Ken Gall, introduced me to how 3D printed materials were being used in medicine.
CDME: What continues to motivate you professionally?
Natalia von Windheim: Support and encouragement from my family, peers, and mentors.
CDME: What’s been your favorite part about Ohio State?
Natalia von Windheim: I appreciate the collaboration across different groups and how supportive everyone is of each other and the community.
CDME: What’s something that people may not know about you?
Natalia von Windheim: I have American, Canadian, and German citizenship.
CDME: What are your interests and hobbies outside of work?
Natalia von Windheim: Riding my horse or watching hockey – more specifically, the Carolina Hurricanes.
CDME: What is coming up next for the M4 Lab?
Natalia von Windheim: We’re expanding our capabilities for assisting surgical reconstruction as well as continuing to develop novel patient-specific devices that leverage 3D printing.
Ways to Connect with Natalia:
by Justin Lehman, CDME undergraduate marketing assistant