The National Science Foundation has awarded five-year CAREER grants to Assistant Professors Ilona Kretzschmar and Jizhong Xiao of the Grove School of Engineering at The City College of New York.
The CAREER grant is the foundation’s most prestigious award for career development of young faculty members.
Kretzschmar, assistant professor of chemical engineering, won a grant of $449,386 to synthesize nanoparticles for hierarchical self-assembly of three-dimensional structures. She and her group are researching particle modification strategies that will lead to the synthesis of “patchy” particles, analogous to the patches on a soccer ball. Subsequently, molecular linkers will direct the assembly of these particles into three-dimensional structures that are important in the fields of photonics and semiconductor electronics.
The grant will also support Kretzschmar’s educational activities. These include expanding the visiting international scholar summer research program to include CCNY students seeking to do research at international academic institutions; starting an early-career mentoring program for women and students from under-represented groups in collaboration with the Louis-Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, and exposing journalism and film students to the field of nanotechnology through collaboration with the Media and Communications Arts Department at CCNY.
NSF’s $400,000 award to Xiao, an assistant professor of electrical engineering, will support ongoing research into developing mobile robots capable of climbing walls and running along ceilings. [See the story about Xiao’s part in developing wall-climbing robots in this issue’s March Madness article.] Leveraging the success in developing the City-Climber robots, he intends to use the grant proceeds to develop a general framework and theoretical foundation to address planning, control and coordination issues of multiple robots operating in constrained, urban environments. The grant will also enable Professor Xiao to integrate his research activities into City College’s engineering curriculum, and create mentored research experiences for students, robotics extension programs targeted for K-12 education and other education and outreach activities directed to students with an interest in robotics.