PULLMAN, Wash. – A WSU assistant professor is one of only 39 young scientists selected from 407 applicants from across the nation to receive this year’s prestigious Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Young Faculty Award.
 
Bin Yang, in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering and the Center for Bioproducts & Bioenergy at Washington State University Tri-Cities, has dedicated most of his career to development of renewable energy technologies, with particular emphasis on production of ethanol, drop-in replacement biofuel and other commodity products from cellulosic biomass.
 
The award will provide him $300,000 for research into the co-production of ethanol and jet fuel from biomass sources.
 
“Co-production of ethanol and jet fuel from biomass sources would significantly improve the total carbon use in biomass and make biomass conversion more economically viable,” Yang said.
 
Howard Grimes, vice president of research and dean of the Graduate School, expressed his satisfaction on receiving news of Yang’s award.
 
“WSU has an impressive array of research and technologies that span feedstock development to conversion technologies for next generation aviation biofuels,” he said. “The recognition of Dr. Yang by DARPA is one more validation of the leadership role that WSU occupies in this important arena.”
 
Through the Young Faculty Award, DARPA identifies outstanding junior faculty members and exposes them to U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) research needs and DARPA’s program development process. The award combines funding, mentoring and networking with industry and DOD early in a recipient’s career to help them in framing future research in the context of defense needs.
 
WSU has had significant success in recent months in its faculty receiving early career awards.
Jie Xu, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at WSU Vancouver, received a 2011 DARPA Young Faculty Award entitled, “Ear on a Chip: Microfluidics for Characterization and Control of Hair-Cell Sensing with Acoustic Stimuli.”
 
Chuanwei Zhang, assistant professor in physics and astronomy, received a 2010 Young Faculty Award for “Induced Topological Order and Quantum Computation in Fermionic Cold Atom Superfluids.”
Anantharaman Kalayanaraman, assistant professor in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, received a Department of Energy (DOE) 2011 Early Career Award for his project entitled “Efficient Graph Kernels for Extreme Scale Analysis of Environmental Community.”
 
WSU faculty members have been notably successful with the National Science Foundation (NSF) Early Faculty Career awards. The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a foundation-wide activity that offers the NSF’s most prestigious awards in support of 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 the mission of their organizations. Since 2007, nine assistant professors (from CLA, COS, CEA and CVM) have received the NSF CAREER awards, adding up to $4.4 million.
 
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Source:
Howard Grimes, WSU VP of Research, 509-335-6412, grimes@wsu.edu
Media contact:
Robert Strenge, WSU News, 509-335-3583, rstrenge@wsu.edu