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UT Engineering faculty receive almost $1.4 million in NSF CAREER awards

Four faculty members from the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin have been selected to receive Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) awards totaling nearly $1.4 million from the National Science Foundation.

The awards are the most prestigious offered by the foundation's CAREER Program, and provide up to five years of funding to 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.

The four faculty members from the Cockrell School who received awards are:

Ying Xu, assistant professor in the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, was awarded for her project "Emission and Transport of Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs) in Indoor Environments." PBDEs are used extensively in the U.S. as flame retardants in consumer products and building materials. The goal of Xu's research is to understand the fundamental mechanisms governing emission and transport of PBDEs.

Miryung Kim, an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, was awarded for her work on "Analysis and Automation of Systematic Software Modifications." Kim's research focuses on software engineering, specifically on software evolution. Her research group, Software Evolution and Analysis Laboratory (SEAL), develops innovative program analysis algorithms and software development tools to make it easier to develop and maintain large-scale software systems. SEAL's mission is to improve programmer productivity and program correctness. Kim studies software development practices through user studies with professional software engineers and through rigorous empirical analysis of open source project data.

Mikhail Belkin, assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, was awarded for his work on "Terahertz Semiconductor Laser Sources for Operation Above Cryogenic Temperatures." The objective of his research is to investigate and develop widely and continuously tunable terahertz quantum-cascade lasers and other active devices based upon monolithic and voltage tunable metamaterial waveguides. The demonstration of amplifier and distributed feedback configurations will allow the output power to be scaled to several milliwatts or greater with a directive beam pattern. The broader impacts of his research lie in the development of a new approach for achieving tunable semiconductor lasers. Additionally, terahertz technology requires improved sources and detectors for sensing, imaging and spectroscopy.

Deji Akinwande, assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, was awarded for his research on "Integrated Si-CMOS and Graphene Heterogeneous Nanoelectronics." The objective of his research program is to create graphene devices integrated with silicon electronics for advanced systems for the first time. The integration will lead to next generation nanoelectronics that leverage the complexity, scale, cost and technology proliferation of mature silicon systems with the unique functionalities of graphene for future ubiquitous advanced systems. Such systems are transformative and could lead to revolutionary new products similarly to how gigahertz silicon electronics revolutionized mobile communications.


Contact: Melissa Mixon
University of Texas at Austin

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