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Seven faculty members in the Dwight Look College of Engineering at Texas A&M University have been recognized by the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) as TEES Select Young Faculty.

The award recognizes outstanding young faculty members who have demonstrated their talents for research. TEES is an engineering research agency of the State of Texas and a member of The Texas A&M University System. Texas A&M engineering faculty hold joint appointments as TEES researchers.

Selected as TEES Young Faculty are Dr. Elizabeth Cosgriff-Hernandez, biomedical engineering; Dr. Kristen Maitland, biomedical engineering; Dr. Zhilei Chen, chemical engineering; Dr. Jodie Lutkenhaus, chemical engineering; Dr. Devesh Ranjan, mechanical engineering; Dr. David Staack, mechanical engineering; and Dr. Choongho Yu, mechanical engineering.

Dr. Zhilei Chen, assistant professor in the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering, joined the Texas A&M faculty in 2008. She completed her undergraduate studies at East China Normal University in Shanghai, China, and earned her Ph.D. at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. In 2012 she was named a recipient of the Young Investigator’s Research Program Award (YIP) by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the National Science Foundation CAREER Award. Chen’s research focuses on applying protein engineering principles for biotechnology applications. She also is working on engineering agents for the treatment of various viral infections, including hepatitis C virus and HIV, and the identification of novel drug targets.

Dr. Elizabeth Cosgriff-Hernandez is an assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. She received her B.S. in biomedical engineering and Ph.D. in macromolecular science and engineering from Case Western Reserve University. Her laboratory specializes in the development of hybrid material systems that combine the advantages of synthetic and natural polymers (e.g. collagen) to advance tissue engineering design. In addition to providing improved scaffolds for tissue repair, these innovative biomaterials provide new tools to probe the complex process of tissue remodeling.

Dr. Jodie Lutkenhaus, assistant professor in the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering, focuses on designing organic thin films and nanostructures to enable the development of novel organic energy systems and smart-coatings. Areas of her research include learning how polymer thin films behave in confinement; fabrication of polymer nanowires and nanotubes; polyelectrolytes and layer-by-layer assembly; designing lithium-ion battery electrode and electrolyte materials; and understanding electrochemical processes within these materials. Lutkenhaus, who completed her undergraduate career at The University of Texas at Austin, earned her Ph.D. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2007 before joining Texas A&M’s chemical engineering department in 2010.

Dr. Kristen Maitland, assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering Maitland is a senior member in SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics. She received her Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from The University of Texas at Austin as a research fellow in the NSF Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) Program in cellular and molecular imaging for diagnostics and therapeutics. Her current research interests include confocal microscopy along with other optical imaging and spectroscopy techniques for disease detection, diagnosis, and treatment; and endoscope and miniature optics development for improved access for in vivo applications.

Dr. Devesh Ranjan is an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, having joined the Texas A&M faculty in 2009. He was previously a postdoctoral research associate and a director’s research fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the National Institute of Technology, Trichy (India), and master’s and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Wisconsin, all in mechanical engineering. His research interests are in experimental fluid mechanics (hydrodynamic instabilities), turbulent mixing and supersonic combustion, impulsive unsteady phenomena, shock tube applications, experimental thermal hydraulics and laser diagnostics, design of thermal systems, and shock wave lithotripsy.

Dr. David Staack is an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. He received his B.S. and M.S. from the University of Virginia and his Ph.D. from Drexel University and is the author or co-author of more than 20 peer-reviewed journal publications. His research interests include non-equilibrium plasmas; micro- and nano-scale plasmas; electric propulsion for spacecraft; plasma enhanced materials processing and synthesis; plasma enhanced fuel conversion and combustion; biological and medical plasma applications; and laser and spectroscopic diagnostics. Staack received the prestigious Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation in 2011.

Dr. Choongho Yu joined the Texas A&M mechanical engineering faculty in 2007. He was previously a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Yu earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Korea University and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin, all in mechanical engineering. His research interests are in energy harvesting and cooling (thermoelectric, fuel cell and photovoltaic energy conversions); thermal and electrical transport behaviors; energy storage (Li-ion battery materials and supercapacitors); and thermal management.