Donghui Li (PhD, '20) Donates $5,000 to Department

Donghui Li

Donghui Li, who graduated from Case Western Reserve University in May 2020 with his PhD in materials science and engineering, recently donated $5,000 to the department. This gift is intended to acknowledge the excellent support and helpful guidance Li received from student colleagues and professors in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering to succeed with obtaining his PhD in spite of very stressful personal circumstances that evolved during the doctoral work.

A year after graduating, Li is a postdoctoral researcher at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash. His main duties include collecting the aging data of polymers and extracting information from available data by R language. He believes that his research related to polymer degradation and data science in the Solar Durability and Lifetime Extension Center at CWRU prepared him well for his postdoc position.

One of Li’s fondest memories from his time at CWRU is winning the prize for the Best Startup/Student Project in Innovation ShowCASE 2018. He and Zhe Ren, who graduated from CWRU with his PhD in 2019, designed an adhesive bandage which could be peeled off with less force than a typical bandage when exposed to ultraviolet light. The photoswitchable adhesive in the bandage would decrease peel force by 50% and would be less likely to peel skin or hair.

Li also enjoyed working in think[box] during his CWRU studies.

Li praised his CWRU advisor, Kyocera Professor Roger French, for teaching him how to study polymer degradation using a data science approach. He also thanked Frank Ernst, Leonard Case Jr. Professor of Engineering and chair of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and Gary Wnek, Joseph F. Toot, Jr. Professor of Engineering and chair of the Department of Macromolecular Science and Engineering, for “helping me a lot when I was having a hard time finding a project to work on.”

A self-described automotive enthusiast, Li was drawn to the field of materials science and engineering because “a lot of the materials in cars are made by polymers, so I feel the different properties of polymers in cars are so interesting.” He is also interested in adhesives, coatings and polymer degradation.

Prior to coming to CWRU, Li earned his B.S. in chemistry from Lanzhou University in his home country of China and his M.S. in polymer science from University of Akron. His long term goal is to become a professor of polymer science.