•  ()
  •  ()
  • Print this Story
  • Email this Story

Three Win Prestigious NSF Awards for Young Faculty

Three faculty members at Northwestern have received Faculty Early Career Development awards from the National Science Foundation.

text size AAA
April 2, 2009 | by Megan Fellman
EVANSTON, Ill. --- Three young faculty members at Northwestern University have received Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) awards from the National Science Foundation.

They are Frank Calegari, assistant professor of mathematics in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences; Jason Hartline, assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science in the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science; and Dean Ho, assistant professor of biomedical engineering and mechanical engineering in McCormick.

The CAREER program is a foundation-wide activity that offers the National Science Foundation's most prestigious awards for new faculty members. The CAREER program recognizes and supports early career development of those teacher-scholars who are most likely to become the academic leaders of the 21st century. CAREER awardees are selected on the basis of creative, career-development plans that effectively integrate research and education within the context of the mission of their respective institutions. The minimum CAREER award size is $400,000 for a five-year period.

Calegari studies the relationship between Galois representations and automorphic forms, using tools from homology, commutative algebra and group theory, in the context of the Langlands program. A major innovation in his recent research is the use of non-commutative Iwasawa theory to study p-adically completed cohomology associated to automorphic forms of cohomological type.

He received a CAREER award for his proposal, titled "Arithmetic of Cohomological Automorphic Forms." The ultimate goal of Calegari's research is to formulate and prove a general reciprocity statement relating all Galois representations to the cohomology of arithmetic groups, generalizing the reciprocity conjecture of Langlands. A more specific goal is to establish conditional modularity theorems over imaginary quadratic fields, adapting the method of Taylor-Wiles.

Hartline's research interests lie in the intersection of the fields of theoretical computer science, game theory and economics. With the Internet developing as the single most important arena for resource sharing among parties with diverse and selfish interests, traditional algorithmic and distributed systems approaches are insufficient. Instead, in protocols for the Internet, game-theoretic and economic issues must be considered. A fundamental research endeavor in this new field is the design and analysis of auction mechanisms and pricing algorithms.

In his CAREER award project, "Mechanism Design," Hartline will address the disconnect between theory and practice in the computer science literature on mechanism design. He is developing a theory for the design of mechanisms that are universal, simple and practical. Mechanisms for computer systems must be universal -- the success of the Internet is owed in part to the fact that most Internet protocols function under a wide range of workloads. Mechanisms for the Internet must be simple -- mechanisms are too difficult to optimize if they are parameterized by more than a few dimensions. And mechanisms for the Internet must be practical -- theoretical predictions of rational behavior must correspond to the real behavior of Internet users.

In his research, Ho is pushing the frontier of biomedical and nanotechnology research towards the realization of tailored biology: the ability to configure desired bio-functionality into non-biological materials rapidly and on demand. Ho and his research group are developing nanodiamond- and polymer-based platforms for sustained drug delivery to address a broad array of medical challenges. These strategies have resulted in nanoparticle and microfilm device approaches towards both systemic and localized treatment.

Ho received a CAREER award for his proposal "Scalable Fabrication of Nanodiamond Patch Platforms for Sustained Drug Release." His goal is to utilize nanomanufacturing strategies to further develop a nanodiamond-embedded patch device for cancer drug delivery. Nanodiamonds are carbon-based platform materials that can be linked with nearly any type of drug for cancer treatment. The nanodiamond device is scalable, so it can be economically synthesized in large quantities. It will be engineered for multi-drug release -- to first deliver an anti-inflammatory drug, followed by the release of a potent cancer drug.