Nathalie Nève successfully defended her dissertation on March 10, 2010, becoming the first student to earn a Ph.D. from the Maseeh College’s Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering (MME). Nève began her Ph.D. studies in the spring of 2006, before the department technically had a Ph.D. program, with the understanding that the MME Ph.D. would be approved prior to her anticipated completion date. Nève was advised by Dr. Derek Tretheway, assistant professor of mechanical and materials engineering.
Her research focused on the design, development, validation, and application of a novel instrument to study single cell biomechanics and microscale particle-fluid and particle-particle interactions. Nève completed her dissertation on “The MicroPIVOT: An Integrated particle image velocimeter and optical tweezers instrument for microscale studies.” The instrument integrates three optical techniques on a single inverted microscope: 1) micron resolution particle image velocimetry for the measurement of fluid motion at the microscale. Velocities can be measured with 436nm resolution. 2) Dual optical tweezers to optically suspend and manipulate either one or two micron-sized particles (or biological cell) in a microfluidic environment without physical attachment; and 3) Hyphenated Systems confocal microscopy for 3-D imaging of microfluidic devices including imaging of surface features with 10nm resolution. While the three techniques are used independently, the mPIVOT is truly unique in that it allows the simultaneous application of these techniques. Specifically, a particle or cell can be optically suspended in a flow and the fluid velocities can be measured in its vicinity. This will enable the determination of fluid stresses applied to a suspended object.
Nève was a recipient of the College’s Maseeh Fellowship in 2008-2009, was selected as a finalist for the 2008 Outstanding Paper of the Year Award in Measurement Science and Technology and received “Highly Commended” recognition, was awarded “Best Poster” at the Sigma Xi Research Symposium in 2008 and “Best Paper/Presentation” at the ASB Biomechanics Symposium in 2007. Nève has published three journal articles and three conference proceedings, given eight conference presentations, and presented four conference posters. Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation (CBET-0521637), the Engineering Technology and Industry Council, and the National Institutes of Health (EB007077).
Nève received her B.S. and M.S. in mechanical and materials engineering from the Ecole Polytechnique Feminine in France. As a double-diploma program, she pursued her studies in the US and after one year of research on a novel sterilization method for biopolymers used for hip and knee implants, she received her M.S. in bioengineering from Clemson University, SC, in 2004. Upon returning to France, she worked for Johnson and Johnson, Paris, were she was a Junior Project Leader studying in vivo assessment of the skin undergoing anti-age lotion treatment.