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SEAS Faculty Reap Big Rewards for Innovative Science and Engineering Research

The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science and Columbia's pure science departments have had a fruitful summer, garnering several prestigious grants and awards for research projects ranging from computing to the analysis of neural networks.

  • James L. Leighton, professor of chemistry, was awarded a Johnson & Johnson "Focused Giving Award," aimed at stimulating basic biomedical research. The award provides $67,000 over three years and allows Leighton to have two additional graduate students in the lab. Leighton's research is focused on the development of stereoselective organic reactions for the synthesis of biologically active natural and non-natural target structures. Leighton says, "This means that we can extend our science into areas that interest us, but would not have the resources to do without this award. I, of course, feel very grateful to have it."
  • Jim Hone, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, received part of two National Science Foundation Nanotechnology and Interdisciplinary Research Initiative grants for his "Biomolecular-Scale Nanofabrication for Investigation of Signaling, Motility, and Motor Protein Complexes." The grants net a total of $2 million for Hone and his co-principle investigators Mike Sheetz, professor of biology, John Hunt, associate professor of biological sciences, Shalom Wind, senior research scientist in applied physics and applied mathematics and adjunct professor of electrical engineering, and Richard Vallee, professor of pathology and anatomy and cell biology.
  • Jing-Yue Ju, professor of chemical engineering and principal investigator at the Columbia Genome Center, was awarded a five-year, $3 million R01 National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant for his project, titled "Gene Expression Analysis of Neural Networks." This summer Professor Ju also received a three-year, $970,000 grant from NIH for his work, "Modulating Nucleotide Size in DNA for Detection by Nanopore."
  • Chee Wei Wong, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, together with researchers from the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Wisconsin, received a $1.2 million National Science Foundation Sensor grant for nanophotonic sensors for ultra-sensitive displacement, vibrational and thermal sensors. Wong also teamed up with Rick Osgood, Higgins Professor of Electrical Engineering and professor of applied physics and applied mathematics, to receive an NSF Nanoscale Exploratory Research grant to explore low-threshold nonlinearities in nanophotonics for optical interconnects.
  • Helen Lu and Eliza Konofagou, assistant professors of biomedical engineering, each received a 2005 Wallace H. Coulter Foundation Early Career Award. Lu was honored for her "Novel Tissue Engineered Triphasic Scaffold for the Biological Fixation of Tendon Grafts to Bone," and Konofagou was recognized for the development of an elastocardiography prototype system for automated detection of heart disease.
  • Nick Maxemchuk, professor of electrical engineering, received the 2006 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE ) Koji Kobayashi Computers and Communications Award for outstanding contributions to the integration of computers and communications.

Published: Aug 29, 2005
Last modified: Sep 12, 2005

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