Washington University’s Jai Rudra Honoured With NSF CAREER Award

On June 14, Washington University in St. Louis announced that the National Science Foundation had honoured Indian-American Jai Rudra with a faculty early career development, or CAREER, award. 

Jai Rudra is an assistant professor of biomedical engineering at the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis and plans to study a naturally occurring phenomenon known as handedness or chirality.  

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The university noted that the intricate spiral of most snail shells goes in one direction- a phenomenon known as handedness or chirality. It added that biological molecules could be right- or left-handed, which affects their immediate environment and how they interact with one another. 

Rudra wants to study the phenomenon using engineered nanomaterials to determine how they interact with immune cells to help develop and design safer synthetic nanomaterial vaccines. 

The university confirmed that Indian-American professor Jai Rudra is set to study chirality in nanomaterials with a five-year $639,361 CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation. 

The National Science Foundation CAREER awards are presented by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The awards are presented in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through research and education. 

Presented each year, the awards include a federal grant for research and education activities for five consecutive years. 

In 1983, the Presidential Young Investigators (PYI) program was initiated. It remained active until it was replaced by the NSF New Young Investigators (NYI) program in 1992.  

Both the research-oriented programmes were funded by an average of 200 faculty members per year.  

When the White House asked NSF to institute the Presidential Faculty Fellows (PFF) program in 1992, another more selective programme began. For five years, it awarded young faculty up to $100,000 per year with no matching-fund option. It put more emphasis on education and outreach.  

NFS’ National Science Board in 1994 approved the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) program. The first awards were presented in FY 1995. Various other NSF programs and their objectives were merged into the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) program. 

When a CAREER-awardee is granted a Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) award, funding is raised to a maximum of $500,000 over five years. 

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