Five engineers receive $2.4M in NSF CAREER awards

Release Date: June 23, 2016

“These prestigious awards recognize some of our finest early-career faculty for their outstanding and innovative research and educational work. ”
Liesl Folks, dean
School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Five University at Buffalo engineers recently received prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER awards, an indication that the university is attracting some of the world’s brightest young researchers to the Buffalo Niagara region.

The grants, awarded between February and May, total $2.4 million. They will support research and educational outreach in cyberinfrastructure, drug delivery, clean coal technology, next generation Wi-Fi and how data mining can help improve various industries.

Recipients of the grants come from four departments – computer science and engineering, mechanical and aerospace engineering, chemical and biological engineering, and biomedical engineering – within UB’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

“These prestigious awards recognize some of our finest early-career faculty for their outstanding and innovative research and educational work. They are highly competitive, and to have secured so many in a single round is a strong indicator of the excellence of our faculty,” said Liesl Folks, PhD, MBA, dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.  She added that these five faculty members are each on a trajectory to have profound impacts on their fields of expertise.

The CAREER award, NSF’s most significant for early-career academic researchers, provides the five UB engineers with the means to grow their research programs.

“These awards illustrate exciting and meaningful research underway at the University at Buffalo, with early-career investigators being recognized for innovative and promising approaches that address a wide array of society’s most challenging problems,” said Venu Govindaraju, PhD, vice president for research and economic development at UB. “In addition, CAREER awardees must propose an innovative but feasible education plan, and thus our students will also benefit from these faculty who will effectively integrate their research and education activities”. 

UB's new CAREER awardees are:

Paul Bauman
Faculty position:
PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Year joined UB:
2014
Award amount:
$499,306

Computer models help researchers push the boundaries of science in weather prediction, materials science and countless other fields. But these models can be improved. For example, they are limited by their lack of ability to incorporate uncertain information from experimental data. Bauman’s research addresses this problem by developing cyberinfrastructure that improves models and enables scientists to better design experiments.

Jing Gao
Faculty position:
PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering
Year joined UB:
2012
Award amount:
$500,613

The award will support her research, which focuses on developing new systems to accurately mine data from mobile devices, social media and other online platforms to provide inexpensive, sustainable and large-scale solutions that improve the efficiency and cost of transportation, health care and other industries.

Dimitrios Koutsonikolas
Faculty position:
PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering
Year joined UB:
2011
Award amount:
$555,385

With the proliferation of wireless devices, the telecommunications industry predicts a 1,000-fold increase in bandwidth demand by 2020. Networks in use are already stressed. The award will support the research of Koutsonikolas, which focuses on developing next generation Wi-Fi and cellular networks that aim to solve wireless traffic jams. In particular, he is developing networks that take advantage of unoccupied, higher frequency bands that provide an opportunity to greatly increase the rate in which wireless data is shared.

Haiqing Lin
Faculty position:
PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering
Year joined UB:
2013
Award amount:
$500,000

The award will support Lin’s research into clean coal technology. He is developing a polymer-based membrane to remove carbon dioxide, which makes up the vast majority of greenhouse gas emissions, from gasified coal before its combustion. The membrane could ultimately help lessen the impact of burning coal, an abundant natural resource in the United States and elsewhere, on climate change.

Jonathan Lovell
Faculty position: PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering
Year joined UB:
2012
Award amount:
$400,000

The award will support Lovell’s research, which focuses on developing safer and more efficient ways to control the delivery of medicine inside the body. For example, most chemotherapeutic drugs excel at fighting cancer but they interact with blood and other healthy bodily systems. This dilutes the drugs and causes unwanted side effects. Lovell is developing tiny sacs that carry drugs to their intended destination and open up when triggered by light. The method shows great promise for delivering concentrated doses of medicine and limiting side effects.

Media Contact Information

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