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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Professor David Corr receives NSF CAREER award

Troy, N.Y. David T. Corr, assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, has won a Faculty Early Career Development Award (CAREER) from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Corr will use the five-year, $449,999 award to further his research into the engineering, evaluation, and theoretical modeling of biological soft tissues. His work aims to harness the cell's natural abilities to improve functional tissue engineering. Corr will develop a fundamental understanding of the influence of environmental stimuli on cellular growth and fiber formation, in both muscle and tendon, and determine those geometric and bioreactor parameters that result in optimal muscle and tendon fiber performance.

"We congratulate Dr. Corr on being selected to receive the prestigious NSF CAREER Award," said David Rosowsky, dean of the School of Engineering at Rensselaer. "His research into tissue and cell engineering will lead to a more robust understanding of soft tissues, and to the development of next-generation medical techniques and treatments. The NSF CAREER Award is given to the most promising young faculty for proposed work at the cutting edge of their disciplines. We are thrilled to count David among our growing number of NSF CAREER grant recipients and look forward to his continued success at Rensselaer."

Corr is the sixth Rensselaer faculty member in the past year to receive an NSF CAREER Award.

Corr's CAREER project is titled "Engineering Functional Muscle-Tendon Structures using Scaffold-Free Cell-Based Directed Assembly and Theoretical Modeling." The study will use his scaffold-free approach, in which the natural ability of cells to grow and create their own extracellular matrix is harnessed, using geometric constraints, to form functional single fibers. With this bottom-up approach, Corr's laboratory will create and tune fibers that will serve as building blocks for functional muscle-tendon structures, in which both the muscle and tendon fiber architecture dictate the physiological and biomechanical function of the structure.

This research program will be complemented by integrated educational projects at the graduate, undergraduate, and K-12 academic levels. Corr's CAREER award will support his educational outreach in biomedical engineering to Design Your Future Day, an annual day-long event at Rensselaer with interactive lab sessions and presentations to encourage girls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math. Additionally, Corr will introduce a new biomaterials program for the week-long American Society of Materials "Materials Day Camp" summer program, hosted at Rensselaer for local and regional high school students.

The CAREER Award is given to faculty members at the beginning of their academic careers and is one of NSF's most competitive awards, placing emphasis on high-quality research and novel education initiatives.

Corr joined the Rensselaer faculty in 2006, following his time as an Alberta Ingenuity Fund post-doctoral fellow and the Ernst & Young Fellow in Joint Injury and Arthritis Research at the McCaig Centre at the University of Calgary. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees in engineering mechanics and astronautics from the University of Wisconsin. He went on to earn his master's degree in biomedical engineering and doctorate in mechanical engineering, also from the University of Wisconsin.


Contact: Michael Mullaney
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

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