Xiangjia (Cindy) Li
PhD, industrial and systems engineering, University of Southern California, 2019
Areas of expertise and bio
Expertise: Multi-scale additive manufacturing process development and design methodologies
Xiangjia (Cindy) Li has long been drawn to the problem-solving process inherent in engineering and has been able to apply that to her professional pursuits as a researcher and teacher.
“I dived into mechanical engineering, particularly the manufacturing area because the nature of making products functional in various applications has always been fascinating to me,” says Li.
Initially, she began doing research in the field “out of my curiosity about how to reliably replicate complex structures by developing material and manufacturing process. That is still one of my ongoing research topics.”
In Li’s specialty, additive manufacturing, a revolution has been taking place over the past 30 years.
“We have seen huge advances in producing complex products that are novel and sustainable,” says Li. “What keeps me curious is that we are also witnessing a paradigm shift of additive manufacturing from geometry-centered usage to function-focused applications.”
Her main research thrust this semester is to build high-performance functional medical devices by synthesizing functional requirements, bioinspired design methodologies and advanced manufacturing processes.
“What’s exciting is that in the past additive manufacturing processes were used mainly to build structural components from a wide variety of plastics, metals and rubber materials,” says Li. “Now we will move a step forward to work on the construction of functional synthetic devices based on interdisciplinary technologies and process innovations.”
Smart manufacturing is an important branch of industry 4.0 and plays an important role in new technological innovations and scientific discoveries.
“Especially in the area of smart manufacturing, engineering professors can play an essential role in converting one’s talents and personal characteristics into a lifetime interest, problem-solving know-how and creative innovations,” says Li.
She believes that having up-to-date engineering knowledge and learning the practical skills necessary in the manufacturing environment are key to the future success of students.
“As a teacher and researcher, I’m dedicated to bringing in state-of-art manufacturing technology to strengthen students’ knowledge base and to teach them the applicable skills necessary to vibrantly respond to the manufacturing industry’s many challenges.”