Professor Jun Huang has recently won the prestigious Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF), for his research project, "Single-molecule imaging of T cell recognition and signaling." The award carries a value of $500,000 over a five-year period.
T-cells are a type of white blood cell that circulate around the human body, scanning for cellular abnormalities and infections. Professor Huang's research goal is to understand the molecular mechanism of T cell recognition and signaling, which determines the selection, development, fate, and function of a T cell. Existing T-cell studies cannot directly visualize and measure the dynamic interactions and signaling events with enough spatiotemporal resolution. Professor Huang proposes to use single-molecule resonance energy transfer and light-sheet microscopy to address this immunology problem by measuring early T cell intracellular signaling kinetics.
Professor Huang will also integrate research within teaching and create a research-intensive learning environment to educate students at the interface of immunology and engineering through a new emerging discipline called immune-engineering. In addition, Professor Huang will develop educational materials, demonstrations, and web tutorials to inspire students to explore new research areas, and develop novel technologies to drive the booming field of immune-engineering.
About the CAREER Award:
"The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a Foundation-wide activity that offers the National Science Foundation's most prestigious awards in support of the early career-development activities of those teacher-scholars who most effectively integrate research and education within the context of the mission of their organization. Such activities should build a firm foundation for a lifetime of integrated contributions to research and education." (NSF)