Three faculty receive prestigious NSF early career awards

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Three UNH faculty members have received prestigious National Science Foundation awards to support work that aims to understand turbulent flows, flexible biomolecules and a unique category of honeycomb-shaped materials. John Gibson, assistant professor of mathematics, Yaning Li, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and Harish Vashisth, assistant professor of chemical engineering received the NSF’s Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) awards. The grants of $500,000 support junior faculty who “exemplify the role of teacher-scholar through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations,” according to the NSF.

“It’s an honor for UNH to have three assistant professors recognized by the National Science Foundation with these very competitive CAREER awards,” says Jan Nisbet, senior vice provost for research. “I wish them congratulations and best of luck as they advance their research and teaching with this funding."

“These awards are one measure of the fact that UNH is hiring top-flight faculty to teach and conduct research with our students. Metaphorically, UNH punches well above its weight class in this competition,” says Sam Mukasa, dean of the College of Engineering and Physical Science, which is home to all three awardees.


UNH mathematician John Gibson

John Gibson

CAREER award recipient John Gibson may be a mathematician, but his work tackles a problem he calls one of the biggest in physics and engineering: turbulence.

While the term conjures seatbelt-fastening air travel for most of us, Gibson explains that he’s focused on a type of turbulence akin to pushing water down a pipe. Read more



UNH researcher Yaning Li


Yaning Li

Yaning Li has made her mark studying the mechanics and applications of structures and patterns that exist all around us, whether we are aware of them or not. Li, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, received a CAREER Award for her work studying the mechanics of materials as well as bio-inspired engineering utilizing new manufacturing technologies such as 3D printing. Read more



UNH professor Harish Vashisth


Harish Vashisth

Although it could one day lead to advances in drugs that treat HIV, Harish Vashisth’s research is far more likely to use supercomputers than the pipettes or microscopes more commonly associated with biomedical research. Vashisth, an assistant professor of chemical engineering at UNH, received a prestigious CAREER award from the National Science Foundation for molecular simulations of nucleic acids, specifically a particular ribonucleic acid (RNA) element from the HIV genome. Read more



Brooks Payette | College of Engineering and Physical Sciences