Academic Credentials
  • Ph.D., Chemistry, Boston University, 2009
  • B.S., Chemical Engineering, Lehigh University, 2003
Additional Education & Training
  • Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Professional Affiliations
  • American Chemical Society

Dr. Oelker utilizes expertise in chemicals and materials characterization to provide clients in a variety of industries with product development and failure analysis solutions. Trained as a chemical engineer and chemist, she specializes in the design and evaluation of polymeric materials and small molecule additives.   

Dr. Oelker has experience with materials selection, deformulation, and failure analysis of polymer films, emulsifiers and emulsion polymers, medical devices, high-performance textiles, dyes, carpets, coatings, reflective insulation, and injectable hydrogels. In addition, she has practical experience with failure analysis, leachate testing, and selection of adhesives including hot melt, pressure-sensitive, reactive, and contact/drying types in service of clients in the medical device, textile, and wearable electronics industries.

Dr. Oelker has hands-on experience with small molecule and polymer synthesis, modification, and purification as well as hydrogel design, cross-linking, and characterization. She is skilled in molecular characterization techniques such as nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, fluorometry, dynamic light scattering (DLS), ultraviolet-visible (UV-Vis) spectroscopy, circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy, and gel permeation chromatography (GPC). In addition, she has an extensive background in materials characterization techniques including microscopy (optical, confocal), rheology, nanoindentation, differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), and profilometry. 

Prior to joining Exponent, Dr. Oelker was a postdoctoral associate in the department of chemical engineering at MIT where she developed polypeptide hydrogel substrates with independently tunable stiffness, permeability, and ligand presentation for the study of disease mechanisms and in vitro therapeutic testing. This research built upon her graduate work at Boston University, where she synthesized and characterized a variety of polymers for use as surgical adhesives and implants.