Professors Fanxing Li and Greg Reeves have received Faculty Early Career Development Awards from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The award, one of the highest honors given by NSF to young faculty, provides funding over five years to support a faculty member's research activities.
Dr. Li's project, "Bi-Functional Redox Materials with Facilitated Oxygen Transport for Catalytic Conditioning of Biomass-Derived Syngas," aims to develop effective redox catalysts for tar removal in biomass gasification, a process that converts biological material, or biomass, into synthesis gas, electricity or liquid fuels.
Dr. Reeves' project, "Engineering Principles within Cell-Cell Communication Networks in Animal Development," focuses on cell mechanisms that work to ensure reliable gene expression - the translation of coded genetic information into the molecular building blocks of life.
Both awards provide funding for "outreach" projects for K-12 students. Dr. Li's research group will develop an interactive educational program entitled "Engineering Our Way out of Global Warming," and an associated smartphone app.
Dr. Reeves's project includes an educational module encouraging students to connect the language, methods, and content of biology with those of engineering. Reeves will also create a graduate-level course about the engineering principles inherent in tissue patterning.