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 Marija Gajdardziska

Marija Gajdardziska

Dean of Graduate School
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
United States


Dean Marija Gajdardziska-Josifovska is leading the Graduate School of the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee since January 2014. In 1993 she relocated from Arizona to Wisconsin to join the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where she holds the rank of Professor in the Physics Department. In addition to her many teaching, research and outreach interests and activities, Dean Gajdardziska-Josifovska has extensive prior service in faculty governance, in the community, and in university administration. Early in her career she was elected by her colleagues to serve as Physics Department Chair; followed by service as Director of the Laboratory for Surface Studies, an interdisciplinary research center that includes faculty from Physics, Chemistry and Engineering. At Associate Dean level in the College of Letters & Science (L&S) she provided oversight for all functions of five Natural Sciences departments, the Honor’s College and the Pre-Professional (pre-med) programs; in the Graduate School and the new Office of Research she supported research and graduate education for seven schools and colleges, including L&S, Engineering, Freshwater Science, Nursing, Health Science, Public Health and Information Studies. She is a graduate of the 2009 Management Development Program of the Harvard Institute for Higher Education. Dean Gajdardziska’s interests in leadership for graduate education and research are rooted in her own studies that have spanned three continents. She received a B.Sc. in engineering physics from Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in her native Macedonia, where she also held a teaching and research position until 1987. Her undergraduate research experience in atomic and molecular laser physics in Grenoble, France, a city of scientists and skiers, launched her international research career. As the sole recipient of the annual Australian-European Graduate Award, she obtained an M.Sc. degree from The University of Sydney in the area of solar energy. At Arizona State University she obtained a Ph.D. in condensed matter and surface physics, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Center for High Resolution Electron Microscopy. Upon joining the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Professor Gajdardziska became founder and director of the Laboratory for High Resolution Transmission Electron Microscopy, the only such lab in southeast Wisconsin. She was a summer fellow at Oak Ridge National Lab and an academic visitor of the Department of Materials at Oxford University. The interdisciplinary research that she conducts with her undergraduate and graduate students and postdocs has resulted in more than 130 peer-reviewed publications, 40 invited talks and 100 conference presentations, $2.3M in competitive extramural funding, and most recently one patent. She currently serves on the Editorial Board of Microscopy and Microanalysis (the journal of the Microscopy Society of America), and the Science Advisory Committee of Argonne National Laboratory’s Electron Microscopy Center. Marija Gajdardziska-Josifovska has received several awards and honors, including Fellow of the Microscopy Society of America (2014), Woman of Influence award of The Business Journal (2014), the Research Corporation Research Opportunity Award (2004), the White House/National Science Foundation Presidential Faculty Fellow Award (1995), the UWM Foundation Research Award (1998); preceded by awards during her student years including the Herman E. DeMund Scholarship (1990; one a year for ASU), Australian-European Graduate Award (1985; one a year for Europe), and the award for Best Undergraduate Student in Physics graduating between 1976-86.

Research Interest

Marija Gajdardziska-Josifovska’s group uses atomic resolution transmission electron microscopy, diffraction, and spectroscopy methods to understand how the combination of ionicity and limited dimensionality leads to new physical properties and useful applications. Her research program aims to elucidate the stabilization mechanisms for polar oxide surfaces and interfaces by studying their atomic and electronic structures. The focus is on polar oxide systems with applications in energy, environment, and novel forms of electronics. Her group also works with a wide range of nanostructures, with recent work on hybrid nanosensors, based on oxide nanoparticles supported on carbon nanotubes or graphene sheets, and complex oxide nanoparticles with promising multiferroic properties. In the area of biophysics she collaborates with colleagues from the life sciences to develop targeted magnetic nanotechnology therapies for stroke and cancer, and to study naturally occurring magnetic nanocrystalline biominerals created by the iron storage proteins in plants and bacteria. She has contributed to technique developments in nanodiffraction, electron holography, reflection electron microscopy, and dynamical in-situ transmission electron microscopy. Her research has been supported by extramural grants from the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, and the Research Corporation, and intramural Catalysis, UW Milwaukee and Madison, and Research Growth Initiative grants.