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UMR researcher receives $400,000
from National Science Foundation



Dr. Jee-Ching Wang, assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering at the University of Missouri-Rolla, recently received a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation to support his work on modeling nanoparticle self-assembly.

The CAREER Award is NSF’s most prestigious award given to assistant professors in tenure-track positions. The CAREER program recognizes and supports the early career development activities of those teachers and scholars who are to become the academic leaders of the 21st century.

Wang will receive $400,000 from the NSF over the course of five years to investigate at the atomic scale how nanoparticles self-assemble. The project, “Molecular-Based Engineering of Nanoparticle Self-Assembly,” involves using the multi-scale modeling approach to understand what conditions are needed to get nanoparticles to bind together in a predictable, ordered way. The research will help bring the nanotechnology community one step closer to manufacturing miniature, high-performance devices, Wang says.

“In our computer simulations, we use very simple physics or rules learned from nature about how atoms and molecules behave and interact with each other,” Wang explains. “We generate atoms and then let them follow those few simple rules, so each atom behaves like a real atom in a real system. We monitor them and then extract useful information from the computer simulation. A nanoparticle is an ideal target for computer simulation because each atom matters in a nanoparticle.”

Wang is incorporating his research expertise into a new required undergraduate course, “Molecular Chemical Engineering,” as well as a new elective course, “Molecular Simulation in Engineering and Science.” These two courses will help encourage students in biological and chemical engineering to look at engineering systems and problems from molecular perspectives, Wang says.

Wang joined UMR in August 2000. He received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemical engineering from National Taiwan University before receiving a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Pennsylvania State University.


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