4Ms: Manufacturing | Medicine | Mobility | Materials

The 4Ms represents our four focus areas: Medicine, Mobility, Manufacturing and Materials.


Andre Palmer substitute blood research

Awareness of engineering’s role in Medicine globally grows every day. With a leading medical center and colleges of engineering, medicine, pharmacy, nursing and veterinary medicine all in close proximity, Ohio State is fertile ground for engineering-healthcare innovation. That’s why dozens of our faculty from a variety of disciplines are actively involved in healthcare-related research.

In early 2018, leaders from the College of Engineering and The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center began synthesizing research activity across the medical and engineering campuses to establish teams that together develop solutions and technologies leading to meaningful discoveries. The new, collaborative Center for Cancer Engineering serves as a nexus for high-impact research, innovative training opportunities, collaborative cross-disciplinary funding, as well as technology development and commercialization.

In 2016, William G. Lowrie Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Professor Andre Palmer secured $5.5 million in NIH funding to continue development of a viable blood substitute. And recently, Biomedical Engineering Professor Yi Zhao launched a company to commercialize a smartphone-based digital pathology scanner.


In Mobility, Ohio State Engineering’s leadership is gaining speed. Experts at the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) have developed solutions that encompass a range of smart mobility factors including:

  • Vehicle autonomy
  • Cyber security
  • Connected vehicles
  • Mobility services 
  • Deployment and demonstration

With an Ohio State-designed and built fleet of connected and automated vehicles on hand, access to proving grounds, Smart Corridor (Route 33) and the Transportation Research Center which tests each technology under real-world conditions, CAR researchers take their theoretical understanding of automotive safety to the next level.

In the past three years, we have:

  • connected vehicles testing at TRC
    helped the City of Columbus win the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge.
  • co-founded the Smart Belt Coalition with academic institutions and transportation agencies in Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
  • been named a Beyond Traffic Innovation Center, one of 18 institutions across the country to lead research on transportation challenges.
  • worked closely with the Ohio Department of Transportation and local government to launch the Smart Mobility Corridor, a 35‑mile stretch of U.S. Route 33 in central Ohio. 
  • joined the State of Ohio and the university in investing in enhanced autonomous vehicle technology and facilities (SMART Center) at our Transportation Research Center in East Liberty
  • launched a DriveOhio project to study the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or drones, to monitor traffic and roadway conditions from the air along the 33 Smart Corridor


Suffice to say, manufacturing companies look to Ohio State for advances in technology and processes, as well the talent prepared to maximize both. A robust and competitive manufacturing sector is essential to our nation’s continued economic recovery.

In the spirit of our land-grant origins, we are proud to play an important role in the economic growth of Ohio and the U.S. We advance manufacturing technology and workforce readiness through multiple facilities and initiatives.

  • CDME manufacturing
    Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence
    CDME is the manufacturing port of entry into Ohio State. The center’s ability to move at the speed of industry while continuing to innovate eases the communication between both industry and the university experts to execute project management plans.
  • Ohio Manufacturing Institute
    OMI is as an action-oriented public policy and advocacy center for manufacturing within the state and nation, reflecting a thoughtful and sustained response to industry-led and vetted issues. In 2020, it helped Ohio State launch a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology with a concentration in manufacturing, offered on the Lima, Mansfield and Marion regional campuses.
  • Materials and Manufacturing for Sustainability Discovery Theme
    Building on Ohio State's interdisciplinary strengths in materials research, world-class facilities, strong industrial partnerships, nationally recognized centers of excellence and recent strategic investments, this program will enable discoveries that transform our world and position Ohio State as preeminent in advanced materials and manufacturing for sustainability.
  • LIFT (Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow)
    Ohio State is a founding partner of LIFT, one of the first Manufacturing USA institutes, and a part of the National Network of Manufacturing Innovation program. The Detroit-based public-private partnership dedicated to developing and deploying advanced lightweight metal manufacturing technologies, and implementing education and training programs to better prepare the workforce today and in the future.


Our strengths in Materials—including the Institute for Materials Research and the Center for Electron Microscopy and Analysis (CEMAS)—led to the establishment of an Ohio State Discovery Theme focus area. Led by Professor Steve Ringel, Materials and Manufacturing for Sustainability was one of seven proposals selected for funding through Ohio State’s Discovery Themes Initiative. Since then, eight new Discovery Themes faculty have been hired and 16 more new hires are planned in the near future.

Research from our Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) that could lead to jet engines that run hotter and cleaner has received extensive media coverage recently. And four MSE faculty members are leading or contributing to more than $12 million in Department of Energy-funded research focused on advancing vehicle sustainability.