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Zachary Gagnon receives NASA's Early Career Faculty Award

Zachary Gagnon, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, has been selected to receive NASA's Early Career Faculty Award. These awards recognize outstanding early career faculty researchers and challenge them to examine the theoretical feasibility of ideas and approaches critical to making space travel, exploration, and science more effective, affordable, and sustainable.

Image caption: Zachary Gagnon

Gagnon's project—"Rapid and Simple Sample Acquisition During Space Flight: Simultaneous Extraction of Proteins and Nucleic Acids From Bodily Fluids and Cabin Water Using Free-Flow Bi-directional Isotachophoresis"—aims to dramatically improve the hardware used to monitor the health of humans on long space flight missions.

In general, his research focuses on new ways of utilizing electrokinetic and microfluidic phenomena for biological and biomedical applications. In particular, Gagnon is interested in how electric fields interact with fluid interfaces to induce precise injection and selective mass transport, with the goal of being able to apply electro-fluidic phenomena to protein purification, cell migration, and rare cell isolation applications.

More from the Whiting School of Engineering

Chen Li, an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and member of the Laboratory for Computational Sensing and Robotics, has been selected by the Army Research Office to receive its prestigious Young Investigator Program award, which recognizes outstanding early-career scientists whose research is relevant to the U.S. Army. The highly competitive three-year award will provide support for Li's research "Towards Terradynamics of Dynamic Legged Locomotion in Complex 3-D Terrains," which focuses on helping scientists better understand how creatures such as lizards and insects traverse complex topographies. The ultimate goal of his terradynamics work is to enable legged robots to navigate challenging terrains, including post-disaster building rubble.

Thao "Vicky" Nguyen, an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, has been named the Marlin U. Zimmerman Jr. Faculty Scholar, a five-year appointment funded by the scholarship's namesake to support outstanding Whiting School faculty members. Nguyen's research encompasses the biomechanics of soft tissues and the mechanics of active polymers and biomaterials. Her group seeks to develop innovative experimental tools and both theoretical and computational models to investigate the fundamental microscale mechanisms of microstructural origins of the behavior of soft adaptive materials.

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