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Johns Hopkins researcher among recipients of U.S. Energy Department early career grant

Rebecca Schulman will receive $750,000 over the next five years for work on designing hydrogels

Rebecca Schulman, an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University, is among 49 young scientists across the country to receive grants from the U.S. Energy Department's Office of Science under the agency's Early Career Research Program.

Rebecca Schulman

Image caption: Rebecca Schulman

Schulman, who teaches in the Whiting School of Engineering's Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, will receive $750,000 over the next five years for work on designing hydrogels. These polymer materials are resilient to different types of damage. Such self-healing materials could function over long periods of time without the need for replacement, reducing manufacturing and installation costs and energy expenditures. Schulman's laboratory works on designing a range of materials that self-assemble and use molecular signals to adapt to their environment and recover from damage. The hydrogels developed as part of this project could be used in a range of applications, including for biology, medicine, and energy.

"We invest in promising young researchers early in their careers to support lifelong discovery science to fuel the nation's innovation system," said Cherry Murray, director of DOE's Office of Science. "We are proud of the accomplishments these young scientists already have made, and look forward to following their achievements in years to come."

The award, which is meant to pay for salaries and other laboratory expenses, specifically recognizes young scientists and untenured faculty members who have received their doctorate in the last 10 years. Scientists chosen in this year's round of annual awards are affiliated with 27 universities and 22 national laboratories across the country.

Schulman joined Johns Hopkins in 2011 after completing a fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley. She earned her doctorate at the California Institute of Technology, completing her dissertation on DNA materials, and her bachelor's degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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