Three engineers receive coveted NSF CAREER awards

The grants bring UB’s total to five this year, a sign the university is recruiting top-flight early-career faculty

Release Date: May 1, 2018

Johannes Hachmann

Johannes Hachmann

Oliver Kennedy

Oliver Kennedy

Lukasz Ziarek

Lukasz Ziarek

“These highly competitive awards spotlight the cutting-edge and impactful research that University at Buffalo faculty members are leading, as well as their dedication to finding innovative ways to educate students, fellow teachers and the community.”
Liesl Folks, dean
School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Three University at Buffalo engineers have received National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER awards, one of the nation’s most prestigious honors for early-career faculty.

The grants total $1.6 million. They will support research and educational outreach in chemical engineering, and computer science and engineering, including professional development for Buffalo Public Schools teachers.

The awards also enable the recipients to grow their research labs, signifying how UB is attracting some of the world’s brightest early-career researchers to the Buffalo Niagara region.

“These highly competitive awards spotlight the cutting-edge and impactful research that University at Buffalo faculty members are leading, as well as their dedication to finding innovative ways to educate students, fellow teachers and the community. Each award-winner is on the path to profoundly impact their respective fields of expertise,” said Liesl Folks, PhD, dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

UB's new CAREER awardees are:

Johannes Hachmann, PhD

Faculty position: assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering

Year joined UB: 2014

Award amount: $561,685

The development of new chemical compounds, reactions and materials is key to the progress of mankind. Traditionally, the development process is based on often lengthy and expensive trial-and-error searches. Hachmann’s work seeks to accelerate and streamline this approach by building a cyberinfrastructure that introduces modern data science into chemical research. By transforming the way chemical innovation is created, the project aims to help drive economic development, prosperity and a rising standard of living.

The work supports UB’s Computational and Data-Enabled Sciences and Engineering doctoral program, a partnership between five academic units at UB.

Oliver Kennedy, PhD

Faculty position: assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering

Year joined UB: 2012

Award amount: $542,276

Big data can be messy. The simplest mistakes — from data entry errors to malfunctioning sensors — can skew datasets and mislead people examining the data. The problems can range from being unfairly denied a home loan to mistakenly labeling an innocent 12-year-old as a terrorist. The grant will support Kennedy’s efforts to develop a software tool called Mimir that aims to proactively catch those errors, giving users an easy-to-use tool for making better decisions.

Lukasz Ziarek, PhD

Faculty position: assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering

Year joined UB: 2012

Award amount: $500,000

An increasing number of mobile software applications run in real-time; they receive, process and respond to data nearly instantaneously. The more complex or dynamic the data, the more difficult it is to create such a system. Ziarek’s work addresses this challenge with the development of “adaptive software,” which is designed to react to changes in the environment it is sensing. An example of this is the computing systems that driverless cars use. The software Ziarek is developing aims to improve the reliability and performance of such systems.

As a component of the grant, Ziarek will provide professional development on mobile computer programming to Buffalo Public Schools teachers.

The three awards bring UB’s total NSF CAREER grant recipients this year to five. Earlier, the university announced that Luis Velarde, PhD, assistant professor of chemistry, and Juliane Nguyen, PhD, assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences, had received awards.

Media Contact Information

Cory Nealon
Director of News Content
Engineering, Computer Science
Tel: 716-645-4614
cmnealon@buffalo.edu
Twitter: @UBengineering