Public Release: 

Lehigh chemical engineer awarded DOE funding to design novel functional materials

Lehigh University

BETHLEHEM, PA -- May 14, 2015 -- Jeetain Mittal, assistant professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Lehigh University, is one of 44 scientists selected from across the nation to receive significant funding for research as part of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Early Career Research Program. The effort, now in its sixth year, is designed to bolster the nation's scientific workforce by providing support to exceptional researchers during the crucial early career years, when many scientists do their most formative work.

Mittal's submission, Biomolecular Assembly Processes in the Design of Novel Functional Materials, is a research initiative designed to create complex, functional materials by harnessing DNA?mediated interactions between nano? and micron?sized particles. Mittal plans to develop advanced computational methods to identify the chemical and energy parameters that guide the design and control of DNA?mediated assembly. Ultimately, advances made in this research will form a fundamental set of "design rules" for DNA?mediated particle interactions.

The field holds exciting promise for revolutionizing energy?related material applications such as catalysis, molecular separations and sensing.

"Supporting talented researchers in their early career years is one key to building and maintaining an effective scientific workforce for the nation," said Patricia M. Dehmer, Acting Director of DOE's Office of Science. "We congratulate the winners of this year's competition and look forward to following their achievements over the next five years."

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To be eligible for the DOE award, a researcher must be an untenured, tenure-track assistant or associate professor at a U.S. academic institution or a full-time employee at a DOE national laboratory, who received a Ph.D. within the past 10 years. Research topics are required to fall within one of the Department's Office of Science's six major program offices including Advanced Scientific Computing Research, Basic Energy Sciences, Biological and Environmental Research, Fusion Energy Sciences, High Energy Physics, Nuclear Physics.

A list of the 44 awardees, their institutions, and titles of research projects is available on the Early Career Research Program webpage at http://science.energy.gov/early-career/.

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