LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 20, 2009) - President Obama has awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers to two University of Kentucky professors: Chemical and Materials Engineering Associate Professor Bruce Hinds and Plant and Soil Sciences Assistant Professor David McNear Jr.
Hinds and McNear were two of 100 researchers nationwide to receive the award, the highest honor bestowed by the federal government on young professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. The recipients will be presented their awards this fall at a White House ceremony.
Hinds, who is also UK's William Bryan Professor in Chemical and Materials Engineering in the College of Engineering, performs research on nanoscale device fabrication.
Previously, Science and Nature magazines featured reports on Hinds' research that discovered a way to make carbon nanotube membranes that permitted fluids to flow through at a rate 10,000 times faster than normal materials. This system is being used to pump drugs, using very small voltages, in a programmable skin patch device for drug addiction prevention and treatment.
McNear's focus includes a fungal endophyte that lives in the shoots of tall fescue, its effects on the chemistry of compounds released into the rhizosphere (i.e. the root-soil interface), and how these compounds interact with soil and microbial constituents to influence carbon and nitrogen cycling in fields throughout the Southeast.
"I am thrilled for Bruce Hinds and Dave McNear, but not the least bit surprised," said UK President Lee T. Todd Jr. "Both of these professors have been conducting leading-edge research since the moment they arrived on campus, and this award validates the fact that their work ranks among the best in the nation and the world."