Newswise — Tempe, Ariz. – Twelve faculty members in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University have received National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) Awards between November 2019 and May 2020. The awards total an estimated $6.3 million from the agency to fund their projects over the next five years.
The Fulton Schools of Engineering’s culture of innovation and discovery and strong community of research attracts early career faculty who are set to become leaders in their field. In the past five years, 41 Fulton Schools faculty members have earned the NSF’s most prestigious award for young researchers.
“Through these CAREER Awards, the NSF has recognized the potential of our early career faculty to transform their respective fields and advance transformational research,” says Kyle Squires, dean of the Fulton Schools of Engineering. “The engineering and scientific communities stand to benefit greatly from the unique integration of education and research embodied by these talented young investigators.”
The selected projects cross multiple disciplines within engineering and computer science and represent six of the Fulton Schools of Engineering. The projects range from automating advanced manufacturing processes to using photoacoustics to understand neurological diseases. The work is supported by grants from the NSF’s Engineering Directorate (8 CAREER Awards), Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate (3), and Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (1).
By developing comprehensive plans to conduct impactful research and deliver rich educational experiences to their students, the contributions of these 12 researchers promise long-lasting impacts that will move society forward.
Daniel Aukes, an assistant professor in The Polytechnic School, is working to make the development pipeline for robots more accessible by taking advantage of affordable materials. Being able to produce robots quickly will allow non-robotics experts to prototype cost-effective specialist robots outside the laboratory environment.
Bruno Azeredo, an assistant professor in The Polytechnic School, is developing a new 3D nanoscale manufacturing process to create advanced semiconductor devices. The Mac-Imprint method presses a catalytic mold against a semiconductor material like a silicon wafer to etch 3D structures in a way that does not destroy the semiconductor.
Samantha Brunhaver, an assistant professor in The Polytechnic School, is providing engineering students and practicing engineers with publicly available online educational modules to help equip them with the necessary skills to adapt to the changing needs of the industry. She hopes to promote adaptability as a key outcome of engineering education and help diversify the workplace.
Margaret Garcia, assistant professor in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, is developing a set of models to help policymakers make informed decisions about water use and infrastructure in regional water supply networks. She plans to examine historical and projected regional water systems and simulate routine water infrastructure operations to assess how changes affect local and systemic resiliency.
Jennifer Kitchen, an assistant professor in the School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering, is working to automate the design process of power electronics, and the systems of circuits that regulate the flow of power through electronics. With automation, power electronics can be developed at a quicker rate, leading to a future of low-cost, energy-efficient and high-performing power electronics for all types of electronic devices.
Robert LiKamWa, an assistant professor in the School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering, studies how software and hardware work together so that computers can interpret the visual world through camera systems. His work will be useful for facial recognition, indoor and outdoor navigation and data visualization purposes.
Ariane Middel, an assistant professor School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering, studies urban climate with a focus on artificial materials such as asphalt and concrete that are used to develop urban environments. Her project investigates how these materials cause the thermal properties of cities to change, their impact on local climates and how people experience heat using atmospheric variables such as mean radiant temperature.
Brent Nannenga, an assistant professor in the School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy, is exploring how biological molecules interact with inorganic nanomaterials. His investigation into ferritin proteins using cryo-electron microscopy will advance the rational design of biomolecules to synthesize novel, highly-controlled nanoparticles for a range of materials science applications.
Yulia Peet, an assistant professor in the School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy, aims to provide a more complete understanding of the interaction between turbulent flow and deformable structures. She is working to develop a stronger theoretical groundwork for pursuing innovations in the prediction and control of turbulence to advance aerospace, mechanical, biomedical and energy engineering.
Barbara Smith, an assistant professor in the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering, is developing a new tool to help researchers target specific cells to understand how addiction impacts cellular mechanisms in the brain. The first-of-its-kind tool, called FLAME, uses photoacoustics and fluorescence to target cells. FLAME can be used to help understand other neurological diseases.
Sze Zheng Yong, an assistant professor in the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering, is working to provide a scientific basis to understand and leverage the interactions of artificial intelligence/cyber-human agents, their physical systems and their environment. He is developing control synthesis tools to reason about safety and security under real-world uncertainties.
Wenlong Zhang, an assistant professor in The Polytechnic School, is investigating physical collaboration between humans and robots. His research seeks to equip robots with awareness of human motor dynamics and states of human cognition. Zhang is working to enable machine intelligence to anticipate and adapt to human intent in ways that improve performance across a variety of tasks and settings.
A complete list of the Fulton Schools of Engineering CAREER Award winners since 2015 is available on the CAREER Award website.
About the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering
The Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University, with more than 24,000 enrolled students, is the largest engineering school in the United States, offering 46 graduate and 25 undergraduate degree programs across seven schools of academic focus. With students, faculty and researchers representing all 50 states and 135 countries, the Fulton Schools of Engineering is creating an inclusive environment for engineering excellence by advancing research and innovation at scale, revolutionizing engineering education and expanding global outreach and partner engagement. The Fulton Schools of Engineering’s research expenditures totaled $115 million for the 2019-2020 academic year. Learn more about the Fulton Schools of Engineering at engineering.asu.edu.