Susan Olesik

Susan Olesik
Susan Olesik
Dow Professor
Divisional Affiliation: Analytical, Environmental
Office: 3033D McPherson Laboratory
Phone: 614-292-0733


Susan Olesik received her A.S. from Vincennes University in 1975, B.A. from DePauw University in 1977, and Ph.D. in 1982 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, under the auspices of James W. Taylor in field of analytical mass spectrometry.  She was also a postdoctoral fellow for Milos Novotny at Indiana University from 1982-1884 and for Tomas Baer at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill from 1984-1986.  She has been a faculty member at The Ohio State University since 1986, being promoted to Associate Professor in 1992 and Professor in 1997.  She is currently the Dow Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.  She continues as the Director of the Ohio House of Science and Engineering (OHSE), a K-16 science outreach center.  Her awards include: ACS 2014 Helen M Free Award for Public Outreach, 2014 ACS Award in Chromatography, 2012 AAAS Fellow, 2010 OSU Building Bridges Excellence Award, 2009 ACS Fellow, 2008 ACS National Award for Encouraging Disadvantaged Students into Careers in the Chemical Sciences; 2008 Stanley C. Israel Regional Award for Advancing Diversity in the Chemical Sciences; 2006 OSU Alumni Association Heinlen Award; 2005 Columbus Technical Council (CTC) Technical Person of the Year; 2004 ACS Columbus Section Award for Outstanding Achievement & Promotion of Chemical Sciences; 2000 AWISCO Woman in Science Award; and a commendation from NASA for contributing a GC Column to Cassini-Huygen’s probe.

Research Overview

The central goal of our research program is to develop new analytical separation concepts that drive the field toward new levels of performance in speed to analysis and chromatographic efficiency. Our current projects include:

Nanostructured-Based Materials for Separation Science Application

Ordered Carbon Materials

Enhanced-Fluidity Liquid Chromatography - EFLC

Nanofibrous Substrates for Laser Desorption Mass Spectrometry


I. Nanofiber–based materials. Chromatographic efficiency improves with the inverse square of the particle size of the chromatographic particle.  We are studying the use of nanofibers for ultrathin layer chromatographic applications.   To date we have illustrated the use of polymer, carbon and silica nanofibers for use in chromatographic applications.  The typical fiber diameters used vary from 100 – 400 nm in diameter.   Both randomly oriented and aligned nanofibers were evaluated for the separation of a broad range of compounds.  Aligned structures provide both high efficiency and high speed separations.  Composites of nanostructured carbon in polymer nanofibers are also being explored for chromatographic applications.  Interestingly the presence of the composite material in the nanofiber improved both the efficiency of the separation as well as the analysis time.

Nanofibrous materials are also valuable for solid phase microextraction (SPME).  These devices provide large surface areas per weight of nanomaterial which allows for improved extraction efficiency for a range of compounds of interest (such as pharmaceuticals in waste water and herbicides in natural waterways).

II. Ordered carbon materials.  Glassy carbon surfaces have at least two different types of carbon available as interaction sites: edge-plane and basal-plane carbon.  Using highly unsaturated oligomers as precursors to glassy carbon or templating methods, we are evaluating the possibility of improving chromatographic separations using carbon stationary phases by controlling the homogeneity of the carbon surface.

III. Enhanced-fluidity Liquid Chromatography, EFLC.  Enhanced-fluidity liquids (EFL), also called gas-expanded liquids (GXL), are solvent mixtures containing high proportions of a liquefied gas. These liquid mixtures have mass transport properties (rates of diffusion and viscosity) that are intermediate between those of liquids and supercritical fluids.   Significant increases in the rate of diffusion cause corresponding improvements in the chromatographic efficiency.  Another strong attribute of EFLs is that while the mass transport properties are improved by adding large proportions of liquefied gases, the solvent strength of the liquid is maintained to a value close to that of the original mixtures.  In the past, we have shown that by using EFLC, the speed of the separation and the efficiency improve for mixtures of moderately polar analytes. We are currently moving this technology toward applications that include highly polar mixtures, such as those in biological systems.  For example, nucleotide and nucleoside separations without gradient elution methods are now viable.

IV. Nanofibers for SALDI and ME-SALDI. Electrospun carbon and polymer nanofibers were studied as possible substrates for surface–enhanced laser desorption ionization.  Using the carbon nanofibers, organic polymers could be observed using SALDI ionization with much improved S/N and reproducibility compared to using the conventional stainless steel substrate. Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization often has challenges with matrix interfering with the analysis of low molecular weight compounds; carbon nanofiber based substrates allow clean high signal/ noise spectra of low molecular weight compounds to be readily obtained.  Detection limits as low as 400 attmol were observed of angiotensin I using carbon nanofiber based supports with matrix enhanced-SALDI conditions.

In, summary, our group is on a quest to define technology that can be used routinely for high speed, high efficiency chromatography, and low detection limit mass spectrometry.  Most of  technology would also be well suited for onsite (field-based or point of care) studies.


T. Newsome, S.V. Olesik, “Electrospinning silica/polyvinylpyrrolidone composite nanofibers,” J. Applied Polym. Sci. 2014, DOI: 10.1002/app.40966

Xin Fing, S.V. Olesik, “Carbon nanotube and carbon nanorod-filled polyacrylonitrile electrospun stationary phase for ultrathin layer chromatography,” Anal. Chim. Acta, 830, 1-10 (2014)

Tian Lu, Susan V. Olesik,”Electrospun Nanofibers as Substrates for Surface-Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization and Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization Mass Spectrometry,” Anal. Chem., 85, 4384-4391 (2013).

Michael Beilke, Joseph Zewe, J. Clark, S.V. Olesik, “Aligned Electrospun Nanofibers for Ultra-Thin Layer Chromatography,” Anal. Chim. Acta, 761, 201-208 (2013).

Tian Lu and S. V. Olesik, “Electrospun Polyvinyl Alcohol Ultra-Thin Layer Chromatography of Amino Acids,” Tian Lu and S. V. Olesik, J. Chromatogr. B: Anal. Tech. Biomed. Life Sci., 912, 98-104 (2013). 

S.V. Olesik, J. Zewe, T. Newsome, “Electrospun Nanofiber-Based Solid-Phase Microextraction Media,” in Comprehensive Sampling and Sample Preparation; , Volume 3 - Extraction Techniques and Applications: Biological/Medical and Environmental/Forensics, 533-540, 2012, . ISBN: 978-0-12-381373-2.

Toni Newsome, Joseph Zewe, Susan V. Olesik, “Electrospun Nanofibers for Solid Phase Microextraction as Preconcentration for Liquid Chromatography,” J. Chromatogr. A, 1262 1-7 (2012).

Hassan M. Borteh, Nicholas J. Ferrell, Randall T. Butler, Susan V. Olesik, Derek J. Hansford “Peptide-induced patterning of gold nanoparticle thin films,” Applied Surface Science 258 230-235 (2011).

Cherie N. Pomeranz, S.V. Olesik, “Separation of poly-3-hydroxyvalerate-co-3-hydroxybutyrate through Gradient Polymer Elution Chromatography,” J. Chromatogr. A 1218, 7943-7947 (2011).

GwenaĆ«lle S. Philibert, Susan V. Olesik, “Characterization of Enhanced-Fluidity Liquid Hydrophilic Interaction Chromatography for the Separation of Nucleosides and Nucleotides,”  J. Chromatogr. A 1218, 8222-8230 (2011).

James Treadway, S.V. Olesik, “Enhanced Fluidity Liquid Chromatography for Hydrophilic Interaction Separation of Nucleosides,” J. Chromatogr. A  1218, 5897-5902 (2011).

J.  Zewe, J. Steach, S.V. Olesik, “Electrospun Fibers for Solid Phase Microextraction,”Anal. Chem. 82, 5341-5348 (2010).

J. E. Clark, S.V. Olesik, “Electrospun Glassy Carbon Ultra-Thin Layer Chromatography Devices,” J.  Chromatogr A, 1217 (27) 4655-4662 (2010).       

J. Steach, J. Clark, S. V. Olesik, “Optimization of Electrospinning an SU8 Negative Photoresist to Create Patterned Carbon Nanofibers and Nanoparticles,” Journal of Applied Polymer Science, 118, 405-412 (2010).