Research Highlights

Jennings Receives NSF Early CAREER Award to Create Materials Resistant to Biofilm

Dr. Amber Jennings, assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Herff College of Engineering, has received a 2020 National Science Foundation Faculty Early CAREER Development Award to design materials with a novel synthetic biofilm-disrupting molecule bound to their surfaces. Biofilms form when bacteria attach to surfaces. Because biofilms protect the bacteria, they are often more resistant to traditional antimicrobial treatments and evade immune systems, making them a serious health risk in the fields of health care, environmental engineering, chemical engineering, food preparation and more.

The five-year, $543,551 grant is titled "Tethered biofilm dispersal signals for long-term protection of engineering materials."

Jennings' research will explore whether tethered biofilm inhibitors are active against bacteria while attached to the surface and how they are released from the surface under various environmental conditions. The different types of surfaces tested will include those used often in engineering: metals, polymers and ceramics. The engineered surfaces will also be evaluated to ensure that they are not harmful to human cells.


Salehi and Jazaei Receive Grant from USDA

Dr. Maryam Salehi (PI) and Dr. Farhad Jazaei (Co-PI) both in the Department of Civil Engineering, have been awarded  $482,080 from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) at the United States Department of Agriculture for their project titled: "Microplastics Fate and Transport in Agricultural Soil System: Interrelation of Hydrodynamics, Chemistry, and Material Sciences." This project will implement a multidisciplinary approach to investigate the interrelation between microplastics environmental weathering and transport in the soil system.

This award from NIFA falls under the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Foundational and Applied Science Program in the area of Bioenergy, Natural Resources, and Environment.  NIFA supports research, educational, and extension efforts in a wide range of scientific fields related to agricultural and behavioral sciences.  

Herff COVID-19 Response

Dr. Maryam Salehi, assistant professor, Civil Engineering, is a collaborator in a multi-university study concerning water safety in buildings closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Click HERE to learn more about the study.

Thanks to a new partnership with MCR Safety and Precision Plastics, our Metal Additive Manufacturing Lab is contributing to face shield kits distributed free of charge to front line workers. Click HERE to read more about this fantastic partnership. In addition, the Metal Additive Manufacturing Lab is part of a consortium of higher education institutions around the state to provide face shields for the Tennessee Emergency Management Association, click HERE to learn more.

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