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Natural Sciences Faculty Receive Prestigious NSF CAREER Awards

Natural Sciences Faculty Receive Prestigious NSF CAREER Awards

Two faculty members from the College of Natural Sciences have received distinguished Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Awards totaling $1,075,000 over 5 years from the National Science Foundation.

Emily Que, assistant professor of chemistry and Jeffrey Danciger, assistant professor of mathematics were selected for the NSF's most prestigious award in support of early-career faculty.

The CAREER award, which comes with a federal grant for research and education activities for five years, recognizes junior faculty for their potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization.

Que develops tools for understanding the chemistry of life. This NSF CAREER award will fund the development of new medical diagnostic agents that could be used, for example, to detect malignant tumors characterized by low oxygen levels, or areas of inflammation associated with pathologies including cancer, neurodegenerative disease and atherosclerosis. This grant also funds an educational plan that will provide summer research opportunities in chemical biology for students from Austin Community College.

Danciger will use the award to continue his research on locally homogeneous geometric manifolds. These are abstract mathematical objects which describe many fundamental systems in physics and mathematics, including space-time in the theory of special relativity, surfaces of constant curvature such as the surface of the earth (approximately), and symmetry patterns in crystals in the theoretical study of crystallography. The term locally homogeneous refers to the presence of a high degree of local symmetry, and the basic goal is to understand the implications of this local symmetry on the larger scale properties of geometric manifolds. Educational goals of the project include: training Ph.D. students and postdoctoral researchers; launching the Texas Experimental Geometry Lab, which will introduce undergraduates to research in geometry, topology, and/or dynamics through computational and experimental projects; and convening the Texas Winter Workshop on Geometric Structures for early career mathematicians.

Other recent awardees in the College of Natural Sciences include: Carlos Baiz, Philipp Krähenbühl, Qiang Liu and Christopher Rossbach (2019); Scott Niekum, Vijay Chidambaram, Simon Peter, Eric Price and Michael Boylan-Kolchin (2018); and Sean Roberts and Andrew Potter (2017).

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Tuesday, 31 January 2023

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