Junior faculty receive nationally competitive research awards

Author: Brandi Klingerman


The National Science Foundation (NSF) has recognized six University of Notre Dame faculty from the Colleges of Engineering and Science for their accomplishments in research with an Early Career Development (CAREER) Award.

The CAREER program was created to recognize and support outstanding junior faculty who exhibit a commitment to stimulating research while also providing educational opportunities for students. The program was established in 1995 and is the NSF’s most prestigious recognition given to junior faculty.

When discussing the awards, Vice President for Research Robert J. Bernhard said, “Early career faculty at Notre Dame have had another excellent year competing for the highly coveted and prestigious NSF CAREER awards. The colleges are to be congratulated for recruiting and nurturing these outstanding young faculty who will be the backbone of our programs for many years to come. I look forward to watching their research careers continue to blossom.”

Mary E. Galvin, the William K. Warren Foundation Dean of the College of Science, said, “We are proud of the accomplishments of our faculty, and delighted to have these leaders pursuing knowledge and discovery in their laboratories and inspiring our students. These awards will advance their careers and are important for growing our research programs.”

This year’s CAREER Awardees are as follows.

Haifeng Gao, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, won a CAREER Award for a project titled, “Develop Unprecedented Chain-growth Polymerization Method to Access Structurally Defined Hyperbranched Polymers.” The goal of the project is to develop an efficient and inexpensive polymerization method that can prepare well-defined polymers with precisely controlled structures, compositions and dimensions. Gao joined the faculty in 2011.

David Hoelzle, assistant professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering, joined Notre Dame in 2012. He was awarded a CAREER Award for his project, “Manufacturing Tools for the Next Generation of Tissue Engineering, Manufacturing Education for the Next Generation of Engineers.” His work has broad implications for the health care industry and the way in which surgeons replace diseased and damaged tissue. As part of his CAREER Award, he will research the development of a robotic, endoscopic three-dimensional printer with the potential to fabricate engineered tissues inside the human body through a keyhole surgery.

Scott Howard, assistant professor of electrical engineering, received his CAREER Award for a project titled, “Three-dimensional, Super-resolution, and Super-sensitivity Quantitative Molecular Multi-photon Microscopy in Living Tissue,” which involves studying, developing and evaluating an original method for super-resolution molecular imaging in living animals. Howard joined the faculty in 2011.

Vlad Iluc, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, joined Notre Dame in 2011. His CAREER Award is for the project titled “Nucleophilic, Radical, and Electrophilic Palladium Carbene Complexes: New Types of Reactivity For Palladium,” and is expected to have environmental and societal impact by providing basic knowledge for the development of catalytic processes involving water, alcohols and amines.

Jeremiah Zartman, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, received a CAREER Award for a project titled, “Integrative Analysis for Reverse Engineering Embryonic Pattern Repair Mechanisms.” The project’s research objective is to uncover how developing tissues are able to repair themselves. This will support the development of new strategies for treating birth defects or tissue degenerative diseases. Zartman joined the Notre Dame faculty in 2012.

Additionally, Yiyu Shi, associate professor of computer science and engineering and concurrent associate professor of electrical engineering, received his CAREER award while at Missouri University of Science and Technology for a project called, “Opportunistic Through-Silicon-Via Utilization: Device, Circuit, and Design Automation Perspectives.” Shi joined the Notre Dame faculty in 2015 and will conduct his research as a member of the Notre Dame faculty. His research will pioneer a new, transformative direction for the advancement of three-dimensional integrated circuit stacks at all design levels.

Contact: Brandi R. Klingerman, communications specialist, Notre Dame Research, 574-631-8183, bklinger@nd.edu