Cornell faculty members Jonathan Butcher, Hadas Kress-Gazit, and Matthew Pritchard have received National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Awards, which fund research and outreach projects for "junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education," and "the integration of education and research."
Butcher, assistant professor of biomedical engineering, has been awarded $400,000 over five years to study tissue assembly and remodeling, which occur at faster rates during embryo development and remain poorly understood. By better understanding the sensitive genetic signaling network that is active during the formation of heart valves, Butcher aims to develop new therapeutic technologies to treat heart valve disease quicker and earlier.
Kress-Gazit, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, was awarded $512,000 over five years for her research into high-level robotics. She is developing mathematical formalisms and algorithms to provide guarantees for the success of a robot’s high-level task, such as driving autonomously in a real city. She hopes the research will pave the way for creating autonomous robots that will have a wide impact on society.
Pritchard, assistant professor of earth and atmospheric sciences, was awarded $530,000 over five years to use satellite sensing data to search for magma chambers and geothermal resources in the western United States and Mexico and to monitor changes to glaciers in Alaska. He will employ a relatively new technology for measuring the shape of the Earth—a science called geodesy—that uses satellite images to infer movements of the Earth’s surface. In addition, Pritchard has received a grant from the NASA New Investigator Program for $330,000 over three years to study volcanic activity at hundreds of volcanoes in South America. The NASA grant also supports exhibits and education programs at Ithaca’s Museum of the Earth.