Thursday, March 26, 2015

UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering Faculty Receive NSF Engineering CAREER Award

Two UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering faculty members, Drew Hall, Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Christian Metallo, Assistant Professor of Bioengineering have received the NSF Engineering CAREER Award.

Hall’s proposal explores using ultrasensitive magnetic sensing technology (similar to what is found in modern hard disk drives) to enable new medical applications such as point-of-care disease diagnoses and wearable medical sensors.

“More generally, my research investigates ways of fusing circuits with biology, a new area known as biosensors and bioelectronics,” said Hall. 

Applications of Hall’s research will empower individuals to quantitatively diagnose diseases both earlier and at the point-of-care, which will ultimately lead to better treatment outcomes and reduced costs.

Metallo received the award for his proposal on mitochondrial transporters. His research will dissect the function of mitochondrial transporters that serve as gatekeepers for various nutrients in cells using an array of engineering and biochemical tools.

“Understanding how different genes regulate nutrient transport into mitochondria will provide insights into the fuel selectivity of our cells and tissues” said Metallo.

In a news release, NSF stated that the CAREER program, begun in 1995, provides promising junior faculty the opportunity to pursue outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.

 “While receiving an NSF CAREER award is a distinction in itself, the full value of the awards will appear during the next five years and over the course of their careers,” said Pramod Khargonekar, NSF Assistant Director for Engineering. “We anticipate with excitement that this new class of CAREER grantees will make pioneering discoveries and inspire young minds to advance the engineering enterprise and improve the lives of all Americans.”

Each award provides a minimum of $500,000 over five years, a 25-percent increase over the previous award limit.

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