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The inaugural Engineering Genesis Award for Multidisciplinary Research was presented to three Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) researchers and their research teams during the TEES Inaugural Advisory Board meeting held May 29.

The award, which is presented to TEES researchers who have secured significant research grants of $1 million or more, was given to Dr. Richard J. Malak, Dr. Arum Han and Dr. M. Sam Mannan.

Malak , a TEES assistant research engineer and an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, was awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant through the Emerging Frontiers of Research and Innovation (EFRI) program. Malak and his team are working to discover new techniques for synthesizing complex 3D structures from programmable, self-folding 2D elements.

Malak’s research team includes co-principal investigators Dr. Dimitris Lagoudas (aerospace engineering), Dr. Nancy Amato (computer science and engineering), Dr. Ergun Akleman (Department of Visualization), Dr. Daniel McAdams (mechanical engineering), and senior personnel Dr. Darren Hartl (aerospace engineering).

Han also was awarded a NSF EFRI award for his team’s proposal "Microlage Lab-on-Chip Photobioreactor Platform for Genetic Screening and Metabolic Analysis Leading to Scalable Biofuel Production.

Han’s collaborators include Dr. Tim Devarenne (Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at Texas A&M), Dr. David Stern (Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research), Dr. Jefferson Tester (Cornell University), and Dr. Tzachi Samocha (Texas A&M-Corpus Christi).

Mannan, the director of the Mary K. O’Connor Process Safety Center and regents professor in the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering, is the principal investigator on a five-year agreement with the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) to lead a team of Texas institutions to manage the Ocean Energy Safety Institute.

The group will provide a forum for dialogue, shared learning and cooperative research among academia, government, industry and other non-government organizations in offshore-related technologies and activities that help ensure environmentally safe and responsible offshore operations.

TEES is partnering with Texas A&M University, The University of Texas at Austin and the University of Houston to manage the institute.