Ashwin J. Shahani

Principal investigator

Ashwin joined the University of Michigan as Assistant Professor in September 2016.  He earned his B.S. from Cornell University and his Ph.D. from Northwestern University, both degrees in the field of Materials Science and Engineering.  It is at Northwestern, under the direction of Prof. Peter Voorhees, that Ashwin developed his passion for solidification science.  Now as an independent researcher at UM, he hopes to tackle some of the unsolved problems concerning the growth of multicomponent alloys.  Recently, Ashwin has won Young Investigator Awards from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (2017) and the Army Research Office (2018), as well as a collaborative grant from the Department of Energy Office of Science (2018). Outside of work, Ashwin enjoys traveling, baking, and playing tennis.  Interested in learning more?  Ashwin can be reached at shahani [at] umich [dot] edu

Nancy Senabulya

Postdoctoral researcher

Nancy joined Prof. Shahani's group as a postdoctoral research fellow in June 2017.  Prior to this appointment, Nancy earned her B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Makerere University and an M.S.E and PhD in Applied Physics from the University of Michigan (advisor: Prof. Roy Clarke). She is currently investigating the growth dynamics of icosahedral quasicrystals in real time, using synchrotron-based X-ray tomography. This work is motivated by the need to understand the fundamental and complex phenomena responsible for the nucleation of forbidden crystals from a liquid phase.  Besides her love for science, Nancy is a devout Michigan football fan; she enjoys watching professional sports, traveling and spending time with her husband and two children.  Nancy is currently supported by an American Association of University Women (AAUW) fellowship.    Reach Nancy at nsenab [at] umich [dot] edu


Ning Lu

Postdoctoral researcher

Ning joined Prof. Shahani's group as a postdoctoral research fellow in July 2018. He obtained his B.S. degree in Material Science from Central South University (China) and PhD in Material Physics from Chinese Academy of Science.  Prior to this appointment, he carried out investigation at Case Western Reserve University as a postdoctoral research fellow. Currently, he is focused on investigating abnormal grain growth by using X-ray tomography and diffraction-based techniques. This work will give new insight into the coarsening mechanism of grains in polycrystalline materials.  Besides his research, Ning has interest in history and cooking.  Reach Ning at lning [at] umich [dot] edu

Saman Moniri

Doctoral student

Saman is a graduate student in the department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Michigan since fall 2014.  He obtained his M.S. degree in his second year at UM, and his B.S. degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2014, both degrees in Chemical Engineering.  While at UIUC, he performed research in the lab of Prof. Paul Kenis.  Currently, he is advised by Prof. Shahani on a project concerning the solidification of multicomponent and multiphase eutectics with diverse morphologies (e.g., spirals).  Aside from academics, Saman enjoys reading and keeping up with politics.  Reach Saman at moniri [at] umich [dot] edu

Insung Han

Doctoral student

Insung joined Prof. Shahani's group as a Ph.D. student in winter 2017.  Prior to this appointment, Insung earned his B.S. degree from Sungkyunkwan University and M.S. degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  He is interested in observing the growth mechanisms of "forbidden crystals" via in situ X-ray tomography and diffraction-based techniques.  He also believes that these fascinating techniques will contribute to understanding the growth mechanisms of various other crystal structures.  Besides his research, Insung enjoys playing baseball and has a great interest in environmental issues.  Reach Insung at insungh [at] umich [dot] edu



Caleb Reese

Doctoral student

Caleb is a graduate student in the Materials Science and Engineering department at the University of Michigan, jointly advised by Prof. Alan Taub and Prof. Shahani. Prior to starting graduate studies in fall 2014, he earned a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering and a B.A. degree in Physics from Calvin College. Under Prof. Shahani, he is working on understanding the formation mechanisms of ceramic reinforcement and secondary phase particles in metal matrix composites processed via in situ reactive methods (e.g., self-propagating high-temperature synthesis). Outside of research, he enjoys playing music with friends, cooking, and reading.  Reach Caleb at reesecw [at] umich [dot] edu


Isaac Loo

Masters student

Issac joined the Shahani group in summer 2018.  He earned his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan and is now pursuing his M.S.E in Industrial & Operations Engineering. Under Prof. Shahani, he is currently researching in the topic of abnormal grain growth in four dimensions. He is interested in both reliability and quality engineering and, subsequently, the state-of-the-art materials characterization techniques that aid in reliability and quality tests – specifically in situ X-ray tomography and diffraction-based techniques heavily used in the Shahani group. In his free time, he enjoys playing and hosting Dungeons & Dragons, learning about new technology, and picking up random hobbies.  Reach Issac at issaloo [at] umich [dot] edu

Ron Keinan

Masters student

Ron is a first-year masters student in the department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Michigan.  He joined the Shahani group in Winter 2017.  Currently, he is working under the guidance of Prof. Shahani in performing multimodal, experimental studies related to the characterization of grain boundaries and inclusions in polycrystalline Si and metal alloys.  He will continue this line of research in the 2018-2019 school-year through the Rackham Sequential Undergraduate/Graduate Studies (SUGS) program.  His professional interests are in the field of lightweight alloy development.  His hobbies include reading, watching Netflix, playing Magic: the Gathering, and spending time with friends.   Reach Ron at rkeinan [at] umich [dot] edu


Megan Wiltse

Visiting research assistant

Megan joined Prof. Shahani’s group in Summer 2018.  She earned her B.S. in Earth and Environmental Science with a concentration in Geochemistry from the University of Michigan.  Currently, she is working to understand the growth mechanisms of decagonal quasicrystals via in situ X-ray tomography.  Prior research involved measuring radiogenic isotopes to track paleo-sediment transport systems.  She is interested developing techniques that make it easier to identify the natural environments necessary to produce man-made materials.  Outside of research, Megan is heavily involved in social entrepreneurship and enjoys reading, cooking, and traveling in her free time.  Reach Megan at mwiltse [at] umich [dot] edu


  • Mushfequr Rahman (masters, 2016-2017)
  • Che Chan (undergraduate, 2017)
  • Matthew Rodeman (undergraduate, 2017-2018)

Open positions

The group is looking for hardworking and motivated individuals at the graduate and post-doctoral level.  Students of MSE or a related field (e.g., ChemE, MechE, Appl. Phys.) are invited to apply.  Currently, there are open projects for multiple students in the areas of eutectic transformations and abnormal grain growth. 

Apply for a research position  →

The group enjoying a night out.  Pictured (left-to-right): Ashwin, Matt, Saman, Nancy, Isaac, Ron, Insung, and Aniket.  Taken winter 2018.

The group enjoying a night out.  Pictured (left-to-right): Ashwin, Matt, Saman, Nancy, Isaac, Ron, Insung, and Aniket.  Taken winter 2018.