Assistant Professor This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Business and Engineering Complex 358A
(205) 975-6831

Research and Teaching Interests: Thermodynamics of Materials, Mechanics of Materials, and New Roles for Nanotechnology: Nanosensors and Nanoscale Machines

Office Hours: Monday and Wednesday 8:00 am-10:00 am


  • B.A., Rice University, French Studies
  • B.S., Rice University, Material Science and Engineering
  • M.S., Rice University, Material Science and Engineering
  • Ph.D., Rice University, Material Science and Engineering
  • Post Doctoral Research, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Polymer Division

Dr. Daneesh Simien completed her undergraduate and graduate studies at Rice University in Houston, Texas. At Rice, she obtained a B.A degree in French Studies and B.S degree in Materials Science and Engineering from the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Material Science. After finishing Rice’s undergraduate program, she joined Shaw Environmental and Infrastructure, Inc. before returning to obtain her M.S (2005) and Ph.D. (2008) degrees in Materials Science and Engineering. She joined the Polymer Division at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, Maryland in 2008 to begin her post-doctoral appointment, which concluded in 2010. Dr. Simien’s first Faculty appointment was in the department of Mechanical Engineering at West Virginia University shortly thereafter, where she taught undergraduate Mechanics of Materials and graduate and undergraduate Introduction to Nanotechnology. She then joined the faculty of the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2014, where she continues her research in the field of nanotechnology and is the instructor for undergraduate mechanical behavior of materials, thermodynamics of materials (undergraduate and graduate) and Introduction to Nanoscale Sensors and Machines (graduate).

Dr. Simien is an experimentalist whose research interests are in the mechanics of nanoscale particles such as highly characterized graphitic based materials inclusive of single walled carbon nanotubes and graphene nanoparticles, and their application in transparent conductive thin films, thermal fluids and “smart material” nanocomposites. The development of self-diagnostic materials is one of her research interests for applications in the field of non-destructive testing. She is also interested in particle dynamics which affect rheological properties en route to manipulating non-Einstein like viscosity in polymer melts and solutions.

Dr. Simien is very committed to research and education across the diversity of students at the tertiary education level. Dr. Simien was born on the island of Jamaica in the West Indies. She loves all sports, the pursuit of academics and gaining new knowledge through engaging with people of all backgrounds from all over the world. She believes in fairness of purpose, integrity and her island of birth’s motto “Out of Many One People”. As a university student-athlete, her sport of choice was women’s varsity basketball where she was awarded 2000-2001 Academic-Athletic Award for Excellence. As a graduate student, she was twice recipient of The Robert A. Welch Foundation Pre-doctoral Fellowship. As a post-doctoral researcher she was nominated by NIST’s Polymer Division Chief, Dr. Eric Lin, for the 2009 Rising Technology Star Award, which she was awarded by Women of Color Magazine. Dr. Simien is married to Dr. Clayton Simien, Ph.D., an Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physicist, and has three children Dayna, Alana and Nyssa Simien.

Research Interests

  • Nanoscale sensors and devices for structural health monitoring and waste heat recovery
  • Development and characterization of graphene and single-walled carbon nanotube composites for next generation smart materials: on demand property responses
  • Thermal, electrical, optical and mechanical properties of single wall carbon nanotube particles and thin films
  • Nanomaterials and fluids for Energy Applications
  • Rheological studies of highly characterized nano-particles in oils and varied nanocomposites
  • Transparent conductive thin films produced from highly characterized length and chirality sorted single wall carbon nanotubes for development of touch sensitive materials
  • Biomedical applications engaging nano-scale materials

My research group is committed to the training and development of new young scientists in the area of nanoscale materials. Please see publications by recent PhD and MS graduates below.

My research interests are generally in the incorporation of very small volume fractions of nanoscale graphitic particles to varied base materials for applications ranging from biomediacal to automotive and aerospace to commercial plastics with the goal of utilizing the idealized nanomaterials’ enhanced thermal conductivity, electrical conductivity or mechanical strength. The use of homogeneous fractions of length or chirality sorted nanotubes affords the study of unique network behavior attributed to them in thin films, melts and solutions. In engineering the mechanical properties of thin films and composites using these nanoscale components, my research group and I seek to meet the needs of next generation materials processing and technology development; which are now even more multifaceted, requiring “smart” diagnostic features from components that are mechanically stronger, while remaining viscousneutral during processing, but capable of sensing for non-destructive failure diagnostics on the product end, and are energy efficient. We are at a new frontier at which manipulating nanoscale components into unique architectures is achievable and percolation, the ability to form a connected network to allow electrical conductivity for example, is key to developing these next generation smart materials. In our research scope we have incorporated single-walled carbon nanotubes into thin film networks and varied polymers characterizing their optical transparency, conductivity and noise spectrum at critical percolation concentrations, and evaluating mechanical properties such as non-linear elasticity and strain induced alignments. We have observed structural changes in polymer systems due to nanoparticles present, which have led to non-Einstein like viscosity changes in polymers systems as well.

Recent Courses

  • Thermodynamics of Materials- MSE 380
  • Mechanical Behavior of materials- MSE 382
  • New Roles for Nanotechnology: Nanosensors and Nanoscale Machines- MSE 690/790

Select Publications

  • Huang, H, Simien, C.E. and Simien, D.O, “Viscosity and Morphology Modification of Length Sorted Single Walled Carbon Nanotubes in PIB Matrices” Journal of Nanomaterials, August 2017 (2017), Article ID 5691692, 9 pages.
  • Hanxiao Huang, Bohoa Li, D., Simien, “Viscosity and Morphology Modification of Length Sorted Single Walled Carbon Nanotubes in PIB Matrices” Submitted Proceedings of the Sixteenth Annual Early Career Technical Conference The University of Alabama, Birmingham ECTC 2016.
  • Simien, D. “The Role of Percolation Theory in Developing Next Generation Smart Nanomaterials” JOM, 2016, Volume 68, Issue 1, pp 318-323
  • Sai Praneeth Gunturu, Pallavi Anipindi, Mourad Riad, Joseph Feeney, Clayton Simien, Daneesh Simien “Defect Detection in Concrete Structures Using Homogeneous Length Sorted Single Walled Carbon Nanotube Sensors” ASNT 22nd Ann. Res. Sym.2013.
  • D.O Simien, C. Simien, K. Felice. “1/f Noise in Length Sorted Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes at their Critical Percolation Conditions”. Mater. Res. Soc. Symp. Proc., vol. 1407, 2012.
  • S. Gunturu, P. Anipindi, J. Fenney, C. Simien, M. Riad, D.O Simien, Homogeneous Single walled Carbon Nanotubes Networks as Predictive Failure Indicators in Concrete Matrices. ASNT Proc., January 2013
  • D.O Simien, C. Simien, K. Felice. “1/f Noise in Length Sorted Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes at ther Critical Percolation Conditions”. Mater. Res. Soc. Symp. Proc., vol. 1407, 2012.
  • J.M. Harris, G. Iyer, D.O. Simien, J.A. Fagan, J.Y. Huh, J.Y. Chung, S.D. Hudson, J. Obrzut, J.F. Douglas, C. M. Stafford and E.K. Hobbie. “Structural Stability of Transparent Conducting Films Assembled from Length Purified Single-Wall Carbon Nanotubes” J. Phys. Chem. C, 115 (10), 3973–3981, 2011.
  • J. A. Fagan, B. J. Bauer, E. K. Hobbie, M. L. Becker, A. R. Hight-Walker, J. R. Simpson, J. Chun, J. Obrzut, V. Bajpai, F. R. Phelan, D. O. Simien, J.Y. Huh, K. B. Migler. “Carbon Nanotubes: Measuring Dispersion and Length” Adv. Materials. DOI: 10.1002/adma.201001756, 2010.

Academic Distinctions & Professional Memberships

Achievements & Awards
  • 2014 UAB Faculty Development Research Grant Award
  • 2012 American Society for Non-destructive Testing Fellowship Award
  • 2011 Selected to present at the Eighth Annual Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol
  • 2009 Technology Rising Star, Women of Color Magazine
Professional Memberships & Activities
  • The Minerals, Metals, Materials Society (TMS), 2014-2016
  • The Rheological Society, 2014-2016
  • American Society for Non-Destructive Testing (ASNT), 2012-2016
  • National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), 2009- Present
  • Materials Research Society (MRS), 2003-Present

Student Groups

Professional Society Service
  • Symposium Chair (2015), TMS Nanomaterials and Composites Session
  • Engaging with and representing UAB Engineering at the local National Society of Black Engineers NSBE
  • Mentorship (2015, 2016, 2017) Presenter in outreach to the Youth Minority Academy at Samford University encouraging minority youth the pursue careers in STEM field
  • Participating with UAB REU summer research activities
  • Presenter in UAB Girls in Engineering day, as well as the MSE department materials camps via presentations and activities in research in nanomaterials 2015-2017
  • Soliciting and currently hosting UAB undergraduates for research activities year round in Simien Nanomaterials Research Group