Three Professors Receive Prestigious Research Grants from NSF
Pal, Wang and Grave de Peralta were awarded about $1.2 million to further research in chemotherapy, thermoelectrics and plasmonics.
Written by Leslie Cranford
Three Texas Tech University professors have been awarded CAREER Grants from the National Science Foundation.
Ranadip Pal, Shiren Wang and Luis Grave de Peralta are collectively receiving about $1.2 million to further their research in various areas.
The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is the National Science Foundation’s most prestigious in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.
“CAREER Awards are extremely competitive and prestigious,” said Bob Smith, provost. “Such awards also have the potential to affect an individual’s career in an extremely positive way. We know that the success of these three will also reflect very favorably on Texas Tech.”
An assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, Pal received $404,000 to advance his research that focuses on genomic signal processing and control of genetic regulatory networks. See more in the online experts guide.
Pal’s theory addresses cancer treatment with a consideration of a patient’s individual genetic makeup, or their genetic regulatory network, instead of treatment which is often in the form of a one-size-fits-all approach.
“These drugs target only the cancerous cells, and they do not damage the healthy cells,” Pal said. “In chemotherapy, there are numerous side effects including hair loss and general nausea that are related to destruction of healthy cells. We want to understand each patient’s genetic makeup so that we can administer the drugs that will work the best for them and their form of cancer.”
Recovering heat from a material or device through thermoelectric conversion involves the conversion of thermal energy to electrical energy or electrical energy to thermal energy. The heat generated from the sun’s rays on the roof of an electric vehicle can be used to charge that same car’s battery. In computers, the heat from the processor could be recycled to recharge the battery as the computer is in operation.
Wang is working to find new organic materials that could revolutionize the thermoelectric conversion industry.
“Organic materials hold promise for these applications because they are lightweight, abundant, easy to process and environmentally benign,” Wang said.
Luis Grave de Peralta
An assistant professor of physics, Grave de Peralta received his nearly $397,000 to study plasmonics. Grave de Peralta said plasmonics is a new field of science in which researchers hope to fabricate ultra-compact nano-size optical circuits needed for future integration of electronics and photonics in nanoscale-sized machines. See more in the online experts guide.
“This means a lot for me,” Grave de Peralta said. “First, it allows me to have a stable source of resources for five years. The prestigious nature of the award will help me to obtain other sources of financing for my research in nanotechnology. In the long run, this award will be fundamental for me in establishing a new, solid and independent research group in the physics department.”
Achieving Tier One status will have a transformative effect on Texas Tech. It will put Texas Tech into an elite category of universities, providing our students with unmatched educational opportunities. Attaining Tier One status will not only transform Texas Tech University, it will expand the scope of our research to meet the world’s needs and create an economic boom for Lubbock, West Texas and the state.
The journey to Tier One status began in 2009 when the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) designated Texas Tech and six other schools as emerging research universities.
For more information, visit www.tier1.ttu.edu