Aly received a B.S. from The College at Brockport, Brockport, NY in 2013 and an MSc. from Miami University, Oxford, OH in 2015. She started at Virginia Tech in 2015, working with Marc Michel and continuing research that she started during her Master’s.
Aly’s main research interests revolve around the process of crystal growth. Currently she is focusing on examining the structure of calcium phosphate nanoparticles, commonly termed Posner’s clusters, that aggregate to form amorphous calcium phosphate (ACP). ACP is a known precursor material in the crystallization process of hydroxylapatite and brushite. Determining the structure and aggregation of these clusters is a crucial first step in understanding the growth and formation of hydroxylapatite.
The main techniques she uses for her research include x-ray diffraction, extended x-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS) spectroscopy, and pair distribution function (PDF) analysis. EXAFS data for her research has been collected at the National Synchrotron Light Source 1 at Brookhaven National Lab, NY and the Synchrotron Light Research Institute in Thailand. Data for her PDF analysis has all been collected at the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Lab, IL.