ONR Announces Young Investigator Program Awards

Office of Naval Research
Corporate Communications Office
Phone: 703-696-5031
Fax: 703-696-5940
E-mail: ONRPAO@onr.navy.mil


The Office of Naval Research today announced the award of 26 grants totaling $8.3 million as a result of the Fiscal Year 2003 ONR Young Investigator Program competition. A total of 220 proposals were submitted by eligible university professors in response to this year's program announcement.

The Young Investigator Program supports basic research by exceptional faculty at U.S. universities who received a Ph.D. or equivalent degree within the preceding five years. Grants to their institutions provide up to $100,000 per year for three years; additional funds may be made available to purchase equipment related to the investigator's research. The funds may be applied to a variety of research costs, including salary, graduate student support, laboratory supplies, and operating costs.

ONR Young Investigators are among the best and brightest young academic researchers in this country. Young Investigator awards confer honor upon the recipients beyond the research funding being provided. The awards are recognition of their research achievements, potential for continued outstanding research efforts, and strong support and commitment from their respective universities. ONR Young Investigators will perform research in a wide range of science and engineering fields that are critically important to the technological superiority of the Navy and Marine Corps.

The Fiscal Year 2003 ONR Young Investigator Program awardees are:

Dr. Francesco Bullo, Coordinated Science Laboratory, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will investigate verifiable motion algorithms for multiple agents that will provide optimal coverage of a complex environment with moving targets of interest by the techniques of nonlinear geometric control. The research will lead to adaptive algorithms for the control of under-actuated mechanical systems such as autonomous mobile robots.

Dr. J. Cole Smith, Systems and Industrial Engineering, University of Arizona will focus on integer programming algorithms and their application to problems arising in telecommunications and logistics, in particular routing problems in networks subject to stochastic node and edge failures. This research will lead to improved performance in finding the shortest secure path compared to current branch-and-cut algorithms.

Dr. Jane P. Chang, Chemical Engineering, University of California at Los Angeles will investigate interfacial stability and formation of thin high perfection crystalline layers of dielectric materials on wide band gap semiconductors. The research will lead to techniques for optimum preparation of crystalline oxides for use in high performance electronics.

Dr. John F. Muth, Electrical and Computer Engineering, North Carolina State University will investigate wide band gap semiconductor photonic devices and their applications to short-range underwater optical communications. The research will lead to photonic devices that enable optical communications with unmanned underwater vehicles and submarines.

Dr. Y. Thomas Hou, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University will focus his research on three fundamental issues associated with wireless surveillance networks: architecture, traffic management, and network lifetime. The research will lead to scalable architectures and algorithms for large scale video-based wireless surveillance networks for use in military and civilian applications.

Dr. Qilian Liang, Electrical Engineering, University of Texas at Arlington will perform research on adaptive self-organizing unattended sensor networks to develop optimal topology for minimal power consumption and robust performance. The research will lead to application of computational intelligence models to wireless sensor networks such as the Marine Corps' Tactical Remote Sensor System.

Dr. Daniel Stillwell, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University will explore theoretical approaches applicable to the control and coordination of multiple autonomous underwater vehicles. The research will enable groups of small, inexpensive autonomous underwater vehicles to cooperatively survey and track time-varying phenomena as a function of location and time..

Dr. Steven R. Jayne, Physical Oceanography, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution will investigate multivariate covariance between the variables of several ocean circulation models. The research will benefit efforts in oceanographic data assimilation and will lead to improved modeling of the ocean.

Dr. Christopher Reddy, Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution will use comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography to investigate how signatures of sedimentary petroleum hydrocarbons change during microbial degradation in both laboratory and field samples. The research will enhance our ability to assess and manage hydrocarbons in the ocean.

Dr. Richard J. Meyer, Applied Research Laboratory, Pennsylvania State University will focus his research on the high power capabilities of piezoelectric and relaxor materials and their effect on the acoustic power output of underwater transducers. The research will identify and categorize candidate materials that will improve the performance of sonar transducers operating under high power, high duty cycle, and excitation by high bandwidth waveforms in Navy systems.

Dr. Eugene Pawley, Ocean and Resources Engineering, University of Hawaii will investigate turbulent motions generated by surface waves along rough bathymetry in shallow waters, in particular the variability in the complex coral reef environment. The research will aid in the understanding of shallow and littoral environments important to the operation of future Navy autonomous underwater vehicles.

Dr. Yunfeng Lu, Chemical Engineering, Tulane University will investigate photovoltaic devices using a nanostructured layered network of porous semiconductor coated with a reduced oxidation mediator layer. The research will lead to low-cost, high-efficiency, flexible and lightweight photovoltaic systems to power military systems.

Dr. Gregory N. Tew, Polymer Science and Engineering, University of Massachusetts at Amherst will investigate new approaches to anti-fouling materials in which the anti-fouling agent is designed to be selectively toxic to microorganisms based on biomimetic principles. The research will lead to new non-polluting antifouling coatings for the Navy in the marine environment.

Dr. Chad M. Landis, Mechanical Engineering and Material Science, Rice University will develop analytical and numerical tools for the analysis of devices fabricated from ferroelectric ceramics, and make an assessment of the performance and reliability of such piezoelectric actuators. The research will lead to shorter time for transitioning the technology from device concept to implementation, fabrication, and testing.

Dr. Cameron F. Abrams, Chemical Engineering, Drexel University will investigate methods for the design and synthesis of new materials from theories and models that can span the atomic, microscopic, mesoscopic, and macroscopic scales. The research will address a multitude of critical issues to meet the Navy's grand challenge of synthesizing new military materials by design.

Dr. Yang Shao Horn, Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology will study, by means of scanning force microscopy, the Young's modulus, yield strength, and fracture toughness of individual crystals of metal oxides as a function of lithium concentration. This research on materials for rechargeable batteries is important to achieving the goals of compact, renewable power sources for the Navy.

Dr. Thomas R. Bewley, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of California at San Diego will investigate a new type of coating using fabric-like material for drag reduction and noise suppression in undersea applications. These drag/noise reduction coatings have the potential for application in submarines and other undersea vehicles.

Dr. Hector M. Gutierrez, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Florida Institute of Technology will develop a design framework for robust electrodynamic magnetic suspension systems with non-superconducting levitation coils. The research will lead to new digital control algorithms and technology for magnetic levitation and launch systems.

Dr. Luoyu R. Xu, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Vanderbilt University will investigate the dynamic failure behavior of hybrid interfaces and structures that use nano-composite materials to improve bonding. The fundamental understanding of failure mechanisms and their correlation to structural design of hybrid joints, which are fundamental to systems in ships and submarines, will lead to structural systems that have improved performance.

Dr. Jason M. Haugh, Chemical Engineering, North Carolina State University will utilize a quantitative imaging approach to investigate cellular signal transduction and fibroblast migration to the site of bodily injury. A better understanding of wound healing, so important to the military, will lead to better treatments for wounds.

Dr. Alice Y. Ting, Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology will investigate new methods for non-invasive measurement of cellular responses to a range of intra- and extracellular signals by means of fluorescent protein-based indicators. The research will lead to the development of biodevices for rapid chemical or biological threat detection.

Dr. Rajesh P. N. Rao, Computer Science and Engineering, University of Washington will investigate new approaches to modeling and emulating neural systems by means of probabilistic neuromorphic engineering, particularly for adaptive visual processing and visuomotor learning. The research will lead to a novel neuromorphic robotic system that exhibits robust goal-directed and adaptive behavior.

Dr. Enrico Bellotti, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Boston University will explore a 3-D imaging sensor based on a tunable singe-photon detector device for a variety of passive and active surveillance, reconnaissance, and guidance systems. The research will lead to highly sensitive sensors for use in military systems such as the large scale autonomous intelligent microsensor network.

Dr. Moe Win, Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems, Massachusetts Institute of Technology will investigate communication protocols in ultra wideband radio networks that can speed up the signal acquisition time. The research will lead to application of ultra wideband radio technology for low probability of intercept communication in the battlefield.

Dr. Tony L. Schmitz, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of Florida will investigate methods to optimize the removal of waste materials during high speed machining, to avoid parts damage or machine damage. The research will improve the production machining of Navy propulsors.

Dr. Rustem F. Ismagilov, Chemistry, University of Chicago will investigate nonlinear dynamics of chaotic fluid flows in microfluidic systems to control highly unstable autocatalytic mixtures. The research will lead to chemical and biological sensors based on microfluidic nano-electro-mechanical systems.


Office of Naval Research
Corporate Communications Office
Phone: 703-696-5031
Fax: 703-696-5940
E-mail: ONRPAO@onr.navy.mil


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