News Column

Northwest Names First Post-doctoral Research Associate

January 24, 2014



MARYVILLE, Mo., Jan. 24 -- Northwest Missouri State University issued the following news release:

Northwest Missouri State University is embarking on a path toward enhancing research opportunities for its students and faculty with the appointment of Dr. Maia Magrakvelidze as Northwest's first postdoctoral research associate.

Magrakvelidze is working with Dr. Himadri Chakraborty, associate professor of physics in the Department of Natural Sciences, and his theoretical and computational nanophysics research. Her background in physics and molecular research made her a strong fit for the position.

"I am really happy that I came to Northwest because this is a place that I can learn so much, in research and teaching as well since I get the chance to mentor very smart and motivated undergraduate students," Magrakvelidze said. "Dr. Chakraborty has given me all the confidence and resources I need to explore and further develop my skills."

While deciding where she would complete her postdoctoral fellowship, Magrakvelidze was attracted to the small, family atmosphere at Northwest and found the research Chakaraborty was conducting to be interesting.

"This is going to help the program and the department immensely," Chakraborty said. "The future picture is us being able to produce more research that will lead to further funding. Northwest can give students an edge in nanoscience research, and we hope to provide that opportunity."

Before landing in Maryville, Magrakvelidze earned a bachelor's degree in theoretical physics and a master's degree in theoretical condensed matter physics from Tbilisi Ivane Javakhishvili State Univeristy in Tbilisi in the Republic of Georgia. She also received a master's degree in experimental atomic and molecular physics from Kansas State University before earning her doctoral degree under the supervision of Professor Uwe Thumm with a thesis, titled "Dissociation Dynamics of Diatomic Molecules in Intense Fields."

During her time at Kansas State, she was awarded the 2013 K-State Physics Outstanding Graduate Student Researcher Award and has authored more than 20 research papers, which have been published in peer-reviewed journals.

Northwest Provost Dr. Doug Dunham welcomes Magrakvelidze and congratulates Chakraborty on his successful grant application to the National Science Foundation, which provides funding of the new position.

"As a team, Dr. Chakraborty and Dr. Magrakvelidze will be able to support more research projects and increase the number of undergraduate students who engage in research," Dunham said. "I see this as another way that Northwest's faculty look for ways to support our students' success."

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