Research Magazine 2006
Brilliant minds, bright futures

Prestigious early-career awards from the National Science Foundation have put four engineering professors on the road to research prominence.

Jean Gao tracks biomarkers in the body that can detect prostate cancer. Bumsoo Han freezes tissue to determine the long-term potential for cryopreservation. Seong Jin Koh works with nanoscale memory chips to create better electronic equipment. Samir Iqbal develops tiny biosensing devices to diagnose early-stage cancers.

In addition to conducting cutting-edge research, the four engineering assistant professors have something else in common. All have received the National Science Foundation’s highly competitive Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award, which supports young scholars most likely to become academic leaders.

Approximately one in five applicants receives the honor based on research, education and the integration of both in a university setting. Non-tenured assistant professors are eligible for initial funding of at least $400,000 over five years.

“Part of what makes a great research university is its ability to further student education through research experiences,” says Ron Elsenbaumer, vice president for research and federal relations. “The CAREER award allows new faculty to jump-start their research and educational careers by providing funding that is otherwise difficult to obtain at this early stage.”

For Drs. Gao, Han, Koh and Iqbal, the support is doing just that.

Learn more: Jean Gao | Bumsoo Han | Seong Jin Koh | Samir Iqbal

- Becky Purvis