TEES

TEES researchers win prestigious CAREER Awards from National Science Foundation

August 14, 2009

A total of 13 researchers in the Texas Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) have received the prestigious Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The researchers are all from Texas A&M University-Kingsville and the Dwight Look College of Engineering at Texas A&M University.

The researchers are:

• Dr. Ulisses Braga-Neto, TEES Electrical and Computer Engineering Division and an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Texas A&M, for his proposal, "Theory and Application of Small-Sample Error Estimation in Genomic Signal Processing." Braga-Neto’s research interests include genomic signal processing and statistical pattern recognition, with applications in the study of cancer and infectious diseases. He is particularly interested in the design and analysis of statistical methods of small-sample classification and error estimation for genomics and proteomics applications.

• Dr. Zachary Grasley, TEES Civil Engineering Division and an assistant professor of materials engineering in the Zachry Department of Civil Engineering at Texas A&M, for a project that will focus on improving concrete materials. Grasley’s research seeks to improve the understanding of the link between abstract, nanoscale properties and macroscale material performance. The research could ultimately transform the way concrete is designed, resulting in safer, more sustainable concrete infrastructure.

• Dr. Greg Huff, TEES Electrical and Computer Engineering Division and an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Texas A&M, for his proposal, "Biologically Inspired Concepts for Reconfigurable Antennas and Multifunctional Smart Skins." Huff’s research examines the circulatory system in our bodies and the color-changing/shape-shifting skin of the cuttlefish as motivation for a new landscape of biologically inspired concepts in reconfigurable antennas, sensors and other wireless devices. Huff's research will enable new capabilities in these radio frequency (RF) and microwave devices - the frequencies at which cell phones, Wi-Fi, etc., operate - by finding and exploiting unique parallels between nanoparticles, microfluidics, and other emerging technologies with the functions of blood cells, veins, and other biological systems.

• Dr. Jaakko Järvi, TEES Computer Science and Engineering Division and an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M, for research in methods for increasing software reusability. The project aims to identify incidental structures formed by interactions between components comprising real-world software systems. Järvi will focus specifically on those incidental structures that arise in user interfaces (UI’s), and model them as explicit software artifacts. The result is that large amounts of ad-hoc code can be replaced by reusable algorithms and other components. Järvi’s research will impact future large-scale software development and hopefully result in increased productivity and software that is more reliable, efficient and predictable.

• Dr. Arul Jayaraman, TEES Chemical Engineering Division and an assistant professor in the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering at Texas A&M for his research, which focuses on soluble signal-mediated signaling between bacteria and human cells, termed inter-kingdom (IK) signaling, as the research paradigm for molecular systems biology. His research has the potential to impact several areas: the molecular systems signaling framework to be developed in the project will lead to a fundamental understanding of signals, receptors and recognition mechanisms. This, in turn, will further the advancement of emerging areas such as synthetic biology. In addition, the research is expected to form the basis of novel molecular therapeutic strategies against E. coli and other pathogens.

• Dr. Tie Liu, TEES Electrical and Computer Engineering Division and an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Texas A&M, for his proposal, "Information Theory and Coding for Wireless Broadcast Networks." Liu’s research interests are in the field of information theory, wireless communication and signal processing.

• Dr. Tamás Kalmár-Nagy, TEES Aerospace Engineering Division and an assistant professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&M, for work aimed at developing a novel theoretical and computational framework for studying interconnected systems with random time delays. Interconnected systems are common in chemical and nuclear plants, cars, and aircrafts, making research about their stability and security important. Since interconnected systems communicate large amounts of dynamic data, signal delays are common and, to date, can only be characterized statistically. His research could impact a broad range of applications that use interconnected components, including space exploration, mobile sensor networks, teleoperated surgical robots and integrated building systems.

• Dr. Eun Jung Kim, TEES Computer Science and Engineering Division and an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M, for her research in high-performance computing. Kim seeks to develop a comprehensive design paradigm for exploring the on-chip interconnect design space, especially focusing on how it interacts with the rest of the CMP architecture. The research is already being integrated into education curriculum through existing and new graduate courses, and in undergraduate research programs in the department of computer science and engineering at Texas A&M.

• Dr. David Ramirez, a TEES researcher and an environmental engineering assistant professor at Texas A&M-Kingsville, for a project that examines tiny, man-made particles called nanomaterials, which are smaller in size than a human hair and may serve as the basis of a variety of new technology for consumers, physicians, scientists and others. Ramirez is studying what happens when these new, original nanomaterials come in contact with air pollutants - specifically whether the nanomaterials change form and have negative impacts on human health, safety and the environment.

• Dr. Lin Shao, TEES Nuclear Engineering Division and an assistant professor in the Department of Nuclear Engineering at Texas A&M, to explore the radiation response and stability of nanostructured materials. These materials could be used in the next generation of high-temperature nuclear reactors. His research has the potential to improve fundamental understanding of materials degradation issues and lead to cleaner, safer and more efficient nuclear energy. His research will also impact the application of a wide range of nanomaterials-based devices, sensors and detectors used in extreme-radiation environments such as space.

• Dr. Haiyan Wang, TEES Electrical and Computer Engineering Division and an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Texas A&M, for her proposal, "Novel Ceramic Nanocomposites with Smart Interface Design." She plans to examine the nanoscale interfaces in multifunctional ceramic thin films. Her research interests lie in the area of functional oxide and nitride thin films for microelectronics, optoelectronics, high-temperature superconductors, solid oxide fuel cells, solar cells and advanced nuclear reactors. Her expertise is thin-film growth and characterizations.

• Dr. Sy-Bor Wen, TEES Mechanical Engineering Division and an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M, for his research in optically induced nanoscale heat transfer, with an emphasis on nano-optical devices. Nano-optics is a new branch of optical engineering and has the potential to revolutionize the science and industry with its ability in lower power, high speed and high spatial resolution detection, fabrication and operation. Wen aims to better understand the particle and wave types energy transport during the operation of nano-optical devices, which is crucial to the development of this new field.

• Dr. Yifang Zhu, a TEES researcher and an environmental engineering assistant professor at Texas A&M-Kingsville, for her work in understanding vehicular emitted ultrafine particles (UFP). Her research that focuses on transport and transformation of UFP from vehicle tailpipes to within the vehicle cabin. UFP are a major component of vehicular emissions that have been linked to adverse respiratory and cardiovascular issues.

The NSF established the CAREER program to support junior faculty within the context of their overall career development, combining in a single program the support of research and education of the highest quality and in the broadest sense. Through this program, the NSF emphasizes the importance on the early development of academic careers dedicated to stimulating the discovery process in which the excitement of research is enhanced by inspired teaching and enthusiastic learning. Visit http://www.nsf.gov for more information.

TEES is the engineering research agency of the State of Texas and a member of The Texas A&M University System.

Aug. 14, 2009

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