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Dr. Ratna Naik

Ph.D. 1982; Associate Dean and Professor of Physics, Wayne State University

"It is an honor to be part of WVU physics."

Dr. Ratna Naik is currently the Associate Dean and a Professor of Physics at Wayne State University in Michigan. She has spent a career doing research and teaching in materials physics; her current research
includes the investigation of cathode materials for Li-ion battery applications and magnetic nanoparticles
for biomedical applications.

From Dr. Naik:
I grew up in a small town in south India with five siblings, ten cousins, uncles, aunts, parents, grandmother, all living together in an extended traditional family. I was often called "the bookworm" because of my deep interest in studying mathematics. After pursuing a master's degree in physics from the University of Mysore and pursuing a few years of teaching and graduate education, I moved to Morgantown, where I completed my graduate work in the area of
molecular physics earning a Ph.D degree in physics at West Virginia University. After a couple of
postdoctoral stints at Texas and Illinois, a teaching job in Wisconsin, marriage in Michigan, a newbornchild in Massachusetts, I followed my husband, Vaman, back to Michigan. I took time off for about two years to taking care our son (Ajit, now 30 years old, a mechanical engineer!), and all the while itching to get back to my passions - research and teaching. I was very fortunate to get a tenure-track faculty position at Wayne State University (WSU).

I joined WSU in 1989 as an assistant professor of physics, was promoted to associate professor in 1995 and again to full professor in 2000. My research area is in materials physics and my current research includes the investigation of cathode materials for Li-ion battery applications and magnetic nanoparticles for biomedical applications. I have taken a very active role in both undergraduate and graduate education and research, guiding many undergraduate and graduate students through NSF-REU (1997-2009) and NSF-IGERT (1998-2004) programs between engineering and physics. We developed a very successful combined Research/Educational Curriculum in Smart Sensors and Integrated Microsystems (SSIM) in Engineering.
More than 160 publications have been published from my research group in peer-reviewed
journals/conference proceedings.

As the Chair of Department of Physics and Astronomy during 2005-2015, I oversaw a Department consisting of 30 faculty members, five administrative staff, 17 research personnel, 60 graduate students, 100 undergraduate majors and seven active emeritus professors. Departmental research programs include high energy nuclear physics, high energy particle physics, condensed matter physics and atomic/optical physics. I have also taken personal interest in mentoring, advising and motivating both undergraduate and graduate students, especially minority students in physics with a focus on women.

Currently, I am serving as the associate dean of faculty affairs and academic personnel in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS), representing the college to upper administration and other colleges/schools and divisions with decision-making authority; participating in chair and director searches and reviews; faculty development, promotion and tenure, faculty recruitment, searches and hiring; faculty selective salary processes; part-time faculty matters; faculty sabbaticals, mentoring and other duties normally associated with the administration of the CLAS.