Roseanna N. Zia is an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at Stanford University. She received her Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology in Mechanical Engineering in 2011 with Professor John F. Brady, specializing in the theory of colloidal hydrodynamics and suspension mechanics, where she developed a novel non-equilibrium equation of state for colloidal dispersions. Zia subsequently conducted post-doctoral research in the study of colloidal gels via theory and large-scale dynamic simulation at Princeton University, in collaboration with Professor William B. Russel. Between undergraduate studies (University of Missouri, BSME) and graduate studies at Caltech she worked as a mechanical engineer in the automotive industry in Detroit, specializing in the design of mechanisms and pyrotechnically actuated devices for occupant restraints. Zia serves as an Associate Editor for the Journal of Rheology, and on the Advisory Board of the journal Physics of Fluids.
Dr. Zia’s work in colloidal systems focuses on the development of predictive theory to elucidate the micro-mechanical underpinnings of macroscopic material behaviors in complex fluids and other soft matter, with a focus on non-equilibrium systems. Among these are so-called “Grand Challenge” questions, including theory of the glass transition and kinetically arrested states of complex media, uncovering elusive transition states in biochemical reactions, and mapping the mechanical nature of the origin of life. A central hypothesis in Zia’s work is that answers to many of these questions are held in the vast separation between colloidal versus solvent-molecule relaxation time scales in complex fluids, where dynamic phenomena are set by an interplay between comparatively slow colloidal dynamics and the durable but temporary nature of physical interparticle bonds.
Zia began her faculty career at Cornell in January 2013. That same year she received the NSF BRIGE Award for research in confined suspensions as a model for intracellular transport. At the end of that year she received the NSF CAREER Award for research on the evolution and collapse of colloidal gels. Her research on the relationship between fluctuation and dissipation in non-equilibrium complex fluids was selected for the 2013 Publication Award by the Society of Rheology. In April 2014 Zia was selected for the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator award. Most recently she was selected for the National Academy of Engineering Frontiers in Engineering (NAE-FOE) and symposium, and received the Cornell Engineering Sonny Yau (’72) Teaching Award. In November 2016 she was awarded the 2017 ONR Director of Research Early Career Award. She moved her research group to Stanford University in September, 2017.