Three Researchers Awarded $1.8M in NSF Grants this Fall

Three of our researchers have recently been awarded $1.8 million in National Science Foundation (NSF) grants this fall. Chemical Engineering Assistant Professor Tao Wei, Mechanical Engineering Assistant Professor Hyung Bae, and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Assistant Professor Gedare Bloom share their research objectives and goals.

Chemical Engineering Assistant Professor Tao Wei and Mechanical Engineering Assistant Professor Hyung Bae have been awarded $786K by the NSF for their research project titled: “EiR: Understanding Interactions of Gold and Silver Nanoparticles with Proteins to Achieve Optimum Surface Plasmon Effect.” This research project is in collaboration with two researchers from the Howard University College of Arts and Science, Chemistry Assistant Professors Andre Z. Clayborne and Steven Cummings, as well as a researcher from Winston-Salem State University who has been awarded an additional $214K. Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Assistant Professor Gedare Bloom has been awarded $1M by the NSF for his research project titled: “CICI: SSC: Real-Time Operating System and Network Security for Scientific Middleware.”

Through their research, Dr. Wei and Dr. Bae will develop novel detection devices that are highly sensitive to the nano-particle and protein interactions in diseases such as Alzheimer’s and various types of cancer. Dr. Wei and Dr. Bae, along with fellow researchers, will work to ensure the disease detection devices are cost-effective as well as being effective in detecting diseases in their early stages.

The research results on nanoparticle-protein interactions, bio-simulations and biosensor design will help advance technologies in the biomedical, materials and energy sectors.

This research project plays an additional important role -- one in training and education. Not only does this research project connect researchers and resources at the Howard University College of Engineering and Architecture and Winston-Salem State University but also allows them to integrate education and research training for undergraduate and graduate students alike. Research results will be incorporated into innovative workshops and classes, significantly enhancing the student experience at both the Howard University College of Engineering and Architecture and Winston-Salem State University.

Dr. Bloom’s research will transform the security landscape of scientific cyber-physical systems (CPS) to protect sensitive and other data from active cyber threats as well as errors such as router misconfigurations. This transformation will occur through enhancements to Real-Time Executive for Multiprocessor Systems (RTEMS) and the Experimental Physics and Industrial Control System (EPICS) in open-source real-time operating system (RTOS) software and middleware used by the scientific community.

This research project is a 3-year effort focusing on enhancing cybersecurity for the EPICS open-source software. There are four international collaborating partners that form a technical advisory board for the project: ITER, Fritz-Haber-Institut, Oak Ridge National Lab, and Argonne National Lab. This project also positively impacts training and education in security and open-source software engineering at the undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral levels.

Dr. Wei holds a Ph.D. in chemical engineering and materials science from the University of Southern California.

Dr. Bae holds a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Maryland, and both an M.S. and B.S. in mechanical engineering from Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea.

Dr. Bloom holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in computer science from George Washington University and a B.S. in computer science from Michigan Technological University.

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