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Five faculty members receive NSF Early Career Development awards

Assistant professors Amin Arbabian, Michael Lepech, Marco Pavone, Manu Prakash and Sindy Tang awarded grants to help promising junior faculty pursue outstanding research.

Five Stanford Engineering faculty members have received National Science Foundation Early Career Development (CAREER) awards for 2015. The CAREER program helps promising junior faculty pursue outstanding research while also improving education.

Stanford Assistant Professor Amin Arbabian  Amin Arbabian, assistant professor of electrical engineering, will receive a grant to investigate fundamental limits in the miniaturization of electronic sensors and implantable devices, and to develop disruptive technologies to scale dimensions down to the sub‑millimeter regime while maintaining the capacity to perform advanced multimodal closed‑loop monitoring and stimulation for a variety of clinical applications. The main societal benefits would be realized in the healthcare sector, where a medical chip could be implanted in the human brain or heart tissue, or be used to control the peripheral nervous system in order to diagnose and treat patients with physical, neurological and psychological disabilities and diseases.

Stanford Assistant Professor Michael LepechMichael Lepech, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, will receive a grant to explore new science-based computer models to accurately predict the deterioration of reinforced concrete infrastructure. The new models created through this research will result in the design of infrastructure systems that reduce economic cost, environmental emissions and negative societal impacts during their decades-long life cycles. An important innovation of these models is their ability to consider uncertainty.

Stanford Assistant Professor Marco PavoneMarco Pavone, assistant professor of aeronautics and astronautics, will receive a grant to research models and control methods to coordinate fleets of self-driving vehicles in future transportation networks. The project could benefit the U.S. economy by fostering clean and efficient transportation systems and addressing 21st century mobility needs.

Stanford Assistant Professor Manu PrakashManu Prakash, assistant professor of bioengineering, will receive a grant to develop new methods for large-scale fabrication of optical instruments, including print-and-fold microscopes. The project will focus on developing new Origami-based micro-fabrication techniques and hydrodynamics-based polymer lens manufacturing to enable invention of ultra-light, low-cost optical instruments to meet the unmet global need with applications in healthcare, environmental science and education. A broader theme of this work falls under the umbrella of “Frugal Science” with a focus on democratizing scientific tools. To enable this, the tools will be broadly shared with a worldwide community, with earlier versions of these tools (Foldscope) already in circulation among users in 130 countries around the world.

Stanford Assistant Professor Sindy TangSindy Tang, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, will receive a grant to examine the hydrodynamics of concentrated emulsions in microchannel flows. The results of the project will be useful to practitioners who design microfluidic systems for a variety of applications in engineering, biological sciences and medicine, including the rapid detection of pathogens and antibiotic resistance. In addition, results from the research will be used in the development of a new course on complex fluids for engineering undergraduates as well as in the development of demonstration modules and video presentations for K-12 students.