Seven faculty awarded early career grants in 2018

“We are very excited to see the success of so many of our new faculty in receiving these early-career awards – from the NSF, the NIH, a national laboratory, and foundations. Each of these prestigious awards is a significant accomplishment. This many awards in a single year is remarkable achievement.”

David McLean
Dean, Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering

David Bark, PhD

David Bark

Mechanical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering

Career Development Award, American Heart Association

Bark’s research is focused on leveraging biophysics to develop diagnostics and therapeutics to benefit cardiovascular health. Bark’s AHA Award will focus on investigating the underlying mechanisms through which reperfusion of blood flow after an ischemic event, such as a heart attack, stroke, or organ transplant, can paradoxically double the tissue damage caused by initial ischemia.

Elizabeth Barnes, Department of Atomospheric Science, Colorado State University

Elizabeth Barnes

Atmospheric Science

Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER), National Science Foundation

Barnes researches atmospheric dynamics and variability under different climates. Her CAREER project will apply causal discovery techniques to examine the causal pathways connecting loss of sea ice and accelerated warming of the Arctic to midlatitude weather patterns. Barnes will also evaluate the ability of state-of-the-art climate models to simulate these pathways, and will assess how causal connections are predicted to change in future decades.

Ellison Carter, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Colorado State University

Ellison Carter

Civil & Environmental Engineering

Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award, Oak Ridge Associated Universities


Carter applies environmental sensing, exposure science, and chemistry concepts to inform research and policy on air quality, energy, and housing. The Powe Award recognizes Carter’s work in linking household energy transitions to the indoor built environment in rural China. Her project is one of the first studies of the role of China’s rural housing envelope in achieving air quality and health benefits at regional scales. As a member of the second cohort of JPB Environmental Health Fellows selected by the Harvard Chan School of Public Health, Carter will work across disciplines on research designed to address environmental health disparities that disproportionately impact vulnerable communities.

Arun Kota, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Colorado State University, April 5, 2018

Arun Kota

Mechanical Engineering

Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER), National Science Foundation

Kota specializes in tailoring chemical composition, modulus, and structure of materials to achieve desired surface properties, with a particular emphasis on superhydrophobic, superomniphobic, and hemocompatible materials. Kota’s CAREER award will support research into the design of novel, low-toxicity materials for replacement of long-chain-fluorocarbon-based nonstick coatings, for consumer, industrial, and defense applications.

Brian Munsky

Brian Munsky

Chemical & Biological Engineering and Biomedical Engineering

Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award for Early Stage Investigators (MIRA), National Institutes of Health / National Institute of General Medical Sciences

Munsky is a leader in the emerging field of quantitative biology. He creates new computational tools to explore biological models at multiple interconnected scales, evaluate model uncertainty, and efficiently select among competing hypotheses. In his MIRA project, Munsky will probe the information content in single-cell fluctuations to understand, predict, and ultimately control the dynamics of cell signaling, transcription, and translation.

Jesse Wilson, Colorado State University

Jesse Wilson

Electrical & Computer Engineering and Biomedical Engineering

Boettcher Early Career Investigator, Boettcher Webb-Waring Biomedical Research Award, Boettcher Foundation

Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber, & Schreck-MRA Young Investigator Award, Melanoma Research Alliance

Wilson’s research leverages ultrafast and nonlinear optical phenomena for biomedical imaging contrast. As a Boettcher Investigator, Wilson will develop a new laser technique to observe mitochondrial respiratory chain function in living cells and tissues with an unprecedented level of detail. Wilson’s MRA award is focused on the development of an inexpensive “virtual biopsy” technique for early, noninvasive screening and detection of melanomas.

Jianguo Zhao

Jianguo Zhao

Mechanical Engineering

Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) Research Initiation Initiative (CRII), National Science Foundation

Zhao develops small, biologically inspired adaptive robots with various locomotion capabilities, designed for applications that include search and rescue, surveillance, and environmental monitoring. Zhao’s CRII award will support research into a novel robot shape morphing scheme using twisted and coiled artificial muscle, enabling embedded and continuous shape morphing through closed-loop shape control.