Three Texas Tech Professors Honored with CAREER Awards

Researchers honored with prestigious National Science Foundation award.

Written by: Ben Samples

The National Science Foundation (NSF) honored three Texas Tech University professors with the prestigious CAREER award.

The award is a highly competitive honor reserved for outstanding scientists and engineers who, early in their careers, show an exceptional commitment to research and education.

"That Texas Tech received three of these prestigious awards is a testament to the quality of our faculty," said Kathleen Harris, senior associate vice president for research. "These awards will allow the three recipients to build foundations for long and successful research careers. The awards also will directly benefit our students because each of these projects integrates research and education."

Lenore Dai

Lenore Dai, assistant professor of chemical engineering, will receive $400,000 during five years to research her proposal, "CAREER: Heterogeneous and Competitive Self-assembly at Liquid-Liquid Interfaces."

Dai’s research involves the study of solid-stabilized emulsions – one liquid dispersed into another, then stabilized by solid particles. In the past, most emulsions were stabilized using chemicals called surfactants. Dai also will establish research-related open-ended projects in existing courses, establish a new summer program to broaden the participation of minority groups and promote technology transfer.

Jorge A. Morales

Jorge A. Morales, assistant professor of chemistry, will receive $570,000 throughout five years for his proposal, "Building a Direct Dynamics with Coherent States."

Morales’ research involves inventing and developing a new theory to computationally describe chemical reactions. The theory is then coded into a computer program to perform simulations of chemical reactions. Morales will use the proposal funds to buy more computers to conduct the research and to support undergraduate and post-doctoral students developing the project.

Brandon Weeks

Brandon Weeks, assistant professor of chemical engineering, will receive $400,000 during five years for his research proposal, "Understanding Nanoscale Properties of Energetic Materials."

Weeks will study the properties of energetic materials at the nanometer scale – a level invisible to the naked eye – then use the findings on the macro-level to develop new energetic materials. Included in Weeks’ proposal were plans to participate in an undergraduate-mentoring program, work with a seventh-grade teacher at Atkins Junior High School to introduce math and science activities, develop courses and a minor in energetic materials, and to participate in continuing-education activities. The goal is to cultivate students’ curiosity and encourage them to pursue education in science and engineering fields.


CONTACT: Lenore Dai, assistant professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, Texas Tech University, (806) 742-1757,

Jorge A. Morales, assistant professor, Department of Chemistry, Texas Tech University, (806) 742-3094,

Brandon Weeks, assistant professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, Texas Tech University, (806) 742-3998,