CEAS Researchers Receive Revered NSF CAREER Award

By: Ashley Duvelius
Date: April 14, 2016

CEAS Professors Kristin Yvonne Rozier and David Wendell have received the prestigious NSF CAREER Award for their promising research in the fields of aerospace and nanoscale biomedical/environmental engineering.

CEAS Assistant Professors Kristin Yvonne Rozier, PhD, and David Wendell, PhD, have received the prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award to further investigate “Theoretical Foundations of the UAS in the NAS Problem (Unmanned Aerial Systems in the National Air Space)” and “Engineering a Target Selective Biological Photocatalyst for Water Disinfection,” respectively.

The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a Foundation-wide activity that offers the National Science Foundation's most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations. Successful PIs propose creative, integrative and effective research and education plans, developed within the context of the mission, goals, and resources of their organizations, while building a firm foundation for a lifetime of contributions to research, education and their integration.

One must be an Assistant Professor in the US at a qualifying institution in order to apply for the CAREER Award. The CAREER proposal is a submission from one single individual containing a very detailed plan for the next five years that will be the foundation of that person's career in academia. A maximum of three applications (in three different years) are allowed per person during their career.

Professor Kristin Yvonne Rozier

Professor Kristin Yvonne Rozier, PhD

Professor Kristin Yvonne Rozier, head of the UC Laboratory for Temporal Logic in Aerospace Engineering and recipient of the Inaugural Initiative-Inspiration-Impact Award from Women in Aerospace, joined the College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS) faculty of the Aerospace Engineering and Computer Science Departments as an assistant professor in spring 2015. Her primary research interests include design-time checking of system logic and system requirements; runtime system health management; and safety and security analysis.

Previous to joining UC, Rozier spent 14 years as a Research Scientist at NASA, holding civil service positions at NASA Ames Research Center (2008-2014) and NASA Langley Research Center (2001-2008). She earned her PhD in Computer Science from Rice University and MS and BS degrees from the College of William and Mary. During her tenure at NASA, Rozier contributed research to the Aeroacoustics, and Safety-Critial Avionics groups at NASA Langley and to the Robust Software Engineering, and Discovery and Systems Health groups in the Intelligent Systems Division at NASA Ames. She has also served on the NASA Formal Methods Symposium Steering Committee since working to found that conference in 2008.

Professor Rozier with Swift UAS

Professor Rozier with Swift UAS

Most recently, Rozier was a primary contributing researcher to the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) Air Traffic Management project of the Airspace Systems Program at NASA.

Originally designed for manned aircraft because our current system cannot grow to meet the passenger demand while maintaining the current, provably high, level of safety, Rozier is working on verification of designs for a new, more automated air traffic control system for manned aircraft, as well as looking at the extra dimension of systems that would be extensible to UAS. Relative to this project, Rozier’s CAREER Award research, “Theoretical Foundations of the UAS in the NAS Problem,” will help to build a safer NAS with increased capacity for UAS and create broadly impactful capabilities for System Health Management (SHM) on-board UAS, thus ensuring the safety of people and property on the ground.

Rozier won the CAREER Award after applying for the first time this year, half a year after becoming eligible. Her CAREER project will have broader impact by developing an open-UAS design aimed at both serving as a research platform and enabling interactive teaching experiences for K-12, undergraduate, and graduate students. Other broader impacts include mentoring outreach specifically targeted at girls achieving in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects.

Professor David Wendell, PhD

Professor David Wendell, PhD

When Professor David Wendell, assistant professor in the CEAS Department of Biomedical, Chemical and Environmental Engineering, first came to UC in 2009, he undertook a research program with a team of fellow UC scientists which resulted in the successful development of an artificial nanopore. He now heads the UC Wendell Lab with a primary focus on nanoscale biological engineering, with recent advancements in protein photocatalysts which convert light energy into reactive oxygen like hydrogen peroxide.

About three years ago, Wendell began working to create new forms of protein-based materials for water quality engineering, specifically related to disinfection.  Wendell’s CAREER Award, “Engineering a Target Selective Biological Photocatalyst for Water Disinfection,” provides the necessary support to inform a new, more compact protein photocatalyst capable of scalable production and broader implementation.

Wendell explains, “Currently, antibiotics and common disinfectants kill a broad spectrum of microorganisms.  However, many of these organisms are essential for personal health and the health of the environment.  By engineering a selective disinfection agent, we can eliminate only the bugs we don’t want, while keeping the ones we do.  For example, you may want to eliminate a skin MRSA infection, but keep your skin microbiome intact, this is especially true for immunocompromised individuals.  Similarly, you may want to eliminate water borne pathogens like Norovirus or Cryptosporidium, but preserve bacteria that are essential to water treatment processes.”

“One of the interesting things you can do with our protein photocatalyst (besides disinfect) is microscale photolithography, which may be valuable for future protein based sensors.  The protein photocatalyst, which we call StrepMiniSog, is pictured here,” explains Wendell. A different form of this image appears in the ACS journal Biomacromolecules paper by Wurtzler and Wendell, 2013.

“One of the interesting things you can do with our protein photocatalyst (besides disinfect) is microscale photolithography, which may be valuable for future protein based sensors. The protein photocatalyst, which we call StrepMiniSog, is pictured here,” explains Wendell. A different form of this image appears in the ACS journal Biomacromolecules paper by Wurtzler and Wendell, 2013.

Wendell studied at Cornell University and University of California, Los Angeles. Wendell’s field of study is nanotechnology and his PhD focused on biomedical engineering. He received the 2010 Earth Award for his photosynthetic foam work, which was presented by the King of Malaysia.  Wendell has also been recognized by the American Chemical Society Breakthrough Science for his antibiotic capture material and he is the recipient of the 2016 CEAS Neil Wandmacher Teaching Award for Young Faculty. Additionally, many of the students he has mentored have gone on to become independent academic and professional scientists.

 

The College of Engineering and Applied Science congratulates Professor Rozier and Professor Wendell for receiving the prestigious NSF CAREER Award!