RMATRIX UPDATE: National Science Foundation award for researcher Yi Zuo of UHM College of Engineering

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Mechanical Engineering Assistant Professor Yi Zuo, whose work is supported in part by the RMATRIX grant, has received the National Science Foundation’s CAREER Award. The CAREER Award, one of NSF’s most prestigious and competitive awards for junior researchers, recognizes those who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research.

Dr. Yi Zuo

Dr. Yi Zuo

Zuo received a five-year, $400,000 grant for his proposal titled, “CAREER: Biophysical Mechanisms of Pulmonary Surfactant and its Interactions with Therapeutic Agents.” The research proposal aims to better understand the molecular mechanisms of lung surfactant, which is crucial to maintaining normal respiratory function in air sacs of the lung. The project goal is to help expand the use of clinical surfactants to treat various neonatal and adult respiratory diseases, including respiratory distress syndrome.

Last year, Zuo was awarded a three-year NSF grant to study environmental, health and safety impacts of nanotechnology. His work is supported by the Hawaiʻi Community Foundation, RMATRIX and the UH Mānoa Water Resources Research Center.

Zuo received his MS and BS in mechanical engineering from the University of Science and Technology Beijing and his PhD in mechanical and industrial engineering from the University of Toronto.

“I congratulate Yi on joining the ranks of an elite group of young researchers in the United States,” said Mehrdad N. Ghasemi Nejhad, professor and chair of mechanical engineering. “We are proud of his accomplishments both in our department and for the UH Mānoa College of Engineering.”

The John A. Burns School of Medicine is one of five U.S. academic institutions funded through the National Institutes of Health’s Research Centers in Minority Institutions. That’s the “R.” MATRIX stands for Multidisciplinary And Translational Research Infrastructure Expansion. Translational research rapidly transfers research findings to treatment settings to benefit patients. Dr. Jerris Hedges, Dean of the John A. Burns School of Medicine and lead investigator for the grant, said it builds upon years of successful research at the medical school by scientists in its Department of Native Hawaiian Health and numerous other departments and centers.

UH Mānoa contributed to this report.

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