Dr. He wins NSF CAREER award

The award is one of NSF’s most prestigious awards. It supports junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of their institution’s mission.

“I am honored to be a recipient. This award will help me to achieve my career goal as a fine teacher and scholar,” He said. “It will also support my educational outreach activities to enhance diversity in STEM fields.”

The award grants He $500,234 over a period of five years to expand his research in single cell analysis or biophysics.

Professor He’s research focuses on the physical, chemical and biological properties of nanoscale materials and systems. Nanoscale materials are substances that have at least one critical dimension less than 100 nanometers and have unique optical, magnetic or electrical properties.

“Common cells in the human body generate electrical voltage and as a result, an electrical current,” He said. “These bioelectric signals represent biological activity and function such as growth and differentiation.”

Although scientists have measured these bioelectric signals in a general way, He’s research project will attempt to measure such signals in different parts of a cell surface to better characterize cell behavior and function. The signals can then be used as physical measurements to diagnose or treat certain cancers and even heal severe wounds.

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