2022-Present: Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering, University of Kentucky
2016-2022: Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering, University of Kentucky
2014-2016: Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellowship for Academic Diversity, Materials Science & Engineering, University of Pennsylvania
Ph.D. Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2014
M.S. Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2011
B.S. Mechanical Engineering, University of Central Florida, 2008
Martha Grady’s research is a unique combination of her Ph.D. and postdoctoral research interests. Whereas Grady studied thin film adhesion using synthetic materials at the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign, her postdoctoral research at the University of Pennsylvania exposed her to the mechanics of biological materials. As a result, her lab at UK studies thin film adhesion with biofilm-forming bacteria.
Adhesion occurs when two things are stuck together, such as when bacteria coalesce into what is called a biofilm on a surface. Because there is currently a lack of approaches to measure biofilm adhesion strength, Grady’s research is aimed at figuring out the strength needed to remove biofilms, measuring those forces required, and understanding the factors that influence adhesion strength.
“I am sometimes asked, ‘How does this fit into mechanical engineering?’ says Grady. “We live in a world where research is multidisciplinary. We’ve got biology, dentistry, medicine, engineering, chemistry, chemical engineering, materials science and more right here at UK. I’ve found good collaborators from other disciplines and that will help us not only understand how biofilms respond to forces, but also develop new treatments or prevent biofilm adhesion.”
The purpose of my research laboratory is to explore biomedical interfaces through experimental solid mechanics. Through this work, we advance the understanding of medical device infections by incorporating principles of thin film mechanics and materials science into the study of biological interfaces.