Engineering Faculty Awarded Nearly $10 million

Eighteen faculty members receive $9.6 million from federal agencies

The Bourns College of Engineering

Winston Chung Courtyard at the Bourns College of Engineering

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( — Eighteen faculty members from the University of California, Riverside Bourns College of Engineering have recently been awarded a total of $9.6 million in research grants by federal agencies.

Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Environmental Engineering Robert Haddon has been awarded a grant by the National Science Foundation (NSF) for his project, “Organometallic Chemistry of Periodic pi-Electron Surfaces: Carbon Nanotubes and Graphene.” The project involves preparation of a new class of carbon nanotube and graphene frameworks that are held together by covalent, rather than ionic bonding.

Associate Professor or Electrical Engineering Wei Ren was awarded an NSF grant for his project, “Distributed Nonlinear Multi-agent Coordination in Asymmetric Switching Networks: A Sequential Comparison Framework,” which is designed to derive a novel sequential comparison framework for distributed nonlinear multi-agent coordination in asymmetric switching networks.

Electrical Engineering Professors Amit K. Roy-Chowdhury, Jay Farrell and Anastasios Mourikis have been awarded a grant from the NSF for the project, “Multirobot-Human Coordination for Visual Scene Understanding.” Funded as part of the National Robotics Initiative (NRI), the objective of the research is to enable the development of teams of robots, equipped with vision and other sensors, capable of working alongside humans in critical missions, such as search and rescue.

Professor of Computer Science Rajiv Gupta was awarded an NSF grant for his research project, “Memory Consistency — Hardware, Compiler, and Programming Support.” Gupta’s research will investigate means for constraining the scope of a fence instruction to minimize its impact on performance while preserving desired program behavior.

Professor of Computer Science and Engineering Vassilis Tsotras is the principal investigator on the project, “ASTERIX: A Community Software Platform for Big Data Research, Analysis, and Management,” which the NSF has funded through a collaborative grant with UC Irvine. The grant will help Tsotras develop AsterixDB, a powerful new Big Data Management System (BDMS) for scalably storing, managing, searching, and analyzing collections of Big Data using clusters of commodity computers.

Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering Nosang Myung has been awarded a grant from the NSF for his research on “DNA guided assembly of enzyme cascades for biocatalytic fuel cell applications.” Myung will investigate the use of a genetically controlled, DNA-based modular scaffold approach for the spatially-defined self-assembly of a multi-enzyme cascade for enhanced substrate and electron channeling.

Tamar Shinar, Amrik Singh Poonian Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Engineering is being funded by the NSF for her project, “Coupling Simulation and Mesh Generation using Computational Topology.” The success of the project will be a major step towards the deployment of teams of robots to assist humans in dangerous and complex tasks like disaster response.

Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Elisa Franco has been awarded two grants for her research that will investigate ways to use biological materials to create DNA nanostructures and tunable nucleic acid-based oscillators.

The Department of Energy is funding the project, “Programmable Dynamic Self-Assembly of DNA Nanostructures.” She will focus on using DNA materials and circuits to synthetically mimic the ability of cellular materials for adaptation and reconfiguration.

Franco was also awarded a grant by the NSF for her project, “Design and Synthesis of Robust and Tunable Nucleic Acid-Based Oscillators for Bionanotechnology,” which will attempt to generate robust and tunable molecular clocks using nucleic acids and proteins.

Assistant Professor of Chemical and Environmental Engineering Phillip Christopher is the recipient of a grant from the NSF for his project, “Mechanistic examination and design of multifunctional heterogeneous photocatalysts for artificial photosynthesis.” Christopher and his team will combine fundamental insights into the reaction mechanism with nano-scale reaction engineering to design more efficient AP catalysts.

Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Hamed Mohsenian-Rad has been awarded two NSF grants for his research.

The first project, “Data Center Demand Response: Coordinating the Cloud and the Smart Grid,” will focus on coordinating data centers with the smart grid through programs such as demand response, which allow the utilities to signal consumers to reduce or increase consumption as needed in order to stabilize the grid and tackle the unpredictability of the renewable energy resources.

Mohsenian-Rad’s second project is titled, “A Unified Approach to Quantifying Market Power in the Future Grid” and is being funded by a grant from the NSF. The objective of this research is to develop a unified approach to measuring market power that connects short-term and long-term analysis, while maintaining strong economic foundations and incorporating the transmission system.

Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering Bir Bhanu and Professors Chinya Ravishankar (Computer Science and Engineering) and Amit Roy Chowdhury (Electrical Engineering) are part of a team that has been awarded a grant by the NSF for the project, “Distributed Sensing, Learning and Control in Dynamic Environments.” The objective of the project is to improve the performance of autonomous systems in dynamic environments, such as disaster recovery, by integrating perception, planning paradigms, learning, and databases.

Professor of Computer Science and Engineering Stefano Lonardi and Associate Professor of Cell Biology and Neuroscience Karine Le Roch are the co-investigators on the project “Algorithms and Software Tools for Epigenetics Research,” which is being funded by a three-year grant from the NSF. Their project will develop a new computational framework to advance the understanding of epigenetic gene regulation in the human malaria parasite.

Professor Srikanth Krishnamurthy and Assistant Professors Iulian Neamtiu and Harsha V. Madhyastha, from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, are co-principal investigators in a new $23.2 million Collaborative Research Alliance on cyber security. The UC Riverside team will receive up to $3.7 million during the first five years of the project. Consortium and Army researchers will jointly develop the research program, and lead and conduct research under this Collaborative Research Alliance. The research alliance is designed to create a science to detect and model cyberattacks and the risk and motivations behind them, and creating a response that can counter the attack and neutralize the cyberattackers in real time.


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