NSF Awarded CAREER Awards to Six UB Faculty in 2009

Release Date: November 24, 2009 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Six University at Buffalo scientists and engineers have won 2009 National Science Foundation CAREER awards, the foundation's most prestigious award for junior investigators, which recognizes and supports the early career-development activities of teacher-scholars "who are most likely to become the academic leaders of the 21st century."

Faculty who received 2009 UB CAREER awards are members of the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. They join 16 UB faculty members who have active CAREER awards.

"This year's round of CAREER award-winners demonstrates that UB's junior professors are at the forefront of advancing innovative research and technologies that can improve the quality of life in the future," said Jorge V. José, DrSci, vice president for research at UB. "From developing more efficient wireless networks and superconducting nanostructures to more effective delivery of drugs and powerful machine vision systems, these CAREER award-winners demonstrate the power of the UB 2020 vision and its strategic strengths."

(Editor's note: Photos of the researchers receiving CAREER awards are available by emailing vidal@buffalo.edu.)

UB's 2009 award-winners are:

 Sarbajit Banerjee, PhD, assistant professor of chemistry, who will study early transition metal oxides such as vanadium oxides. A major focus is to push the phase transition closer to room temperature so that the material can be used in "smart windows" that change color depending on the outside temperature and as transistors for next-generation computer chips. Another focus involves trapping single nanowires of vanadium oxides, one-thousandth the size of a human hair, within device structures to measure individual conductivity.

 Jason Corso, PhD, assistant professor of computer science and engineering, who will develop better mathematical models and computational methods of representing and searching content in images and videos. The goal is to turn the phrases that people use to describe images into codes that computers can understand. The project will include an online public database to which people can contribute descriptions of images; those descriptions will help Corso develop better computer models and codes for accessing those images. Applications include medical imaging, search engine tools and homeland security as well as consumer tools for organizing online photo albums.

 Sambandamurthy Ganapathy, PhD, assistant professor of physics, who will conduct research to better understand the physics of quantum phase transitions in superconducting nanostructures. The results will improve the understanding of the phase coherence and emergence of novel collective phases near quantum critical points. The goal is to achieve unprecedented control in engineering the microstructure and properties of novel tunable materials.

 Atri Rudra, PhD, assistant professor of computer science and engineering, who will study efficient techniques for computing approximate solutions to problems involving very large amounts of data, especially for handling the increasing number of errors that will occur as more data are packed into physical media. Rudra will also develop algorithms that efficiently handle large data with limited resources, and pricing algorithms that process data controlled by agents who might game the system for selfish gains.

 Javid Rzayev, PhD, assistant professor of chemistry, will develop polymer nanostructures for a broad range of new applications using bottlebrush copolymers, which look like molecular versions of bottlebrushes in solution. With their unique molecular architecture at the nanoscale, the materials can be used to create innovative, nanostructured materials for drug delivery, photonic and genomic applications.

 Sheng Zhong, PhD, assistant professor of computer science and engineering, will study issues in wireless networks. His research is on economic incentives and security.

NSF CAREER awards also require that each investigator develop an educational project along with their research; several awardees will be working with Western New York school districts, including the Buffalo Public Schools, to introduce to K-16 students new science and technology curricula in a variety of cutting-edge fields.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.

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