UW News

June 13, 2005

White House gives presidential early career award to four UW profs

Four University of Washington faculty members are among 58 of the nation’s most promising young scientists and engineers being recognized at the White House today as winners of this year’s Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering.

The UW winners include two from the College of Engineering, one from the Department of Chemistry and a fourth who works primarily at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center but also has an appointment in the UW School of Medicine.

“We spent about 45 minutes with the president,” said Radha Poovendran, assistant professor in electrical engineering and one of the winners, after the ceremony. “It was great.”

In addition to Poovendran, the UW winners include Wei Li, assistant professor in mechanical engineering, David S. Ginger, assistant professor of chemistry, and William M. Grady, assistant professor of medical science at the UW and assistant member of the clinical research division at the Hutchinson Center.

“These presidential awardees are the young people who will lead our nation’s progress in science and engineering as they leap the fences, cross the boundaries and build the blocks of new and exciting areas of science,” said Arden L. Bement Jr., director of the National Science Foundation, one of eight federal agencies that supported the winners.

Summaries of the award winners’ work follow:

Wei Li is studying an innovative fabrication process to create polymer-based, porous microstructures that will lead to new applications in emerging technologies such as fuel cells, biochemical sensors and controlled drug-delivery devices. His focus on interdisciplinary training helps prepare students for the rapidly changing engineering profession. Li is sponsored by the NSF.

Radha Poovendran received the award for accomplishments in applied cryptography in resource-constrained wireless networks, groundbreaking work on entropy techniques for multi-sensor security, discovering novel algorithms and foundational work on cross-layer design techniques. He was also recognized for teaching and graduate student mentoring. The Department of Defense is Poovendran’s sponsor.

David S. Ginger was honored for groundbreaking work in the area of bio-inspired assembly. His research has helped solve vexing problems in the lithographic patterning of biomolecules on a surface. He was also recognized for teaching and mentoring undergraduate students in nanotechnology research. Ginger is also sponsored by the Department of Defense.

William M. Grady was awarded for his contributions to understanding the mechanisms of colon cancer formation, a leading cause of cancer deaths for patients in hospitals for veterans. Grady is sponsored by the Department of Veteran Affairs.

The award, established in 1996, is intended to honor the nation’s most promising beginning researchers. Each year, eight federal departments and agencies nominate young scientists and engineers whose work shows exceptional promise in expanding the frontiers of scientific knowledge in the coming century. The agencies fund award winners for up to five years so they can further their research in critical areas.


For more information, contact Li at (206) 543-5339 or weiwli@u.washington.edu; Poovendran at (206) 221-6512 or radha@ee.washington.edu; or Ginger at (206) 685-2331 or ginger@chem.washington.edu. For information on Grady, contact Dean Forbes at the Hutchinson Center, (206) 667-2896 or dforbes@fhcrc.org, or see http://www.fhcrc.org/news/science/2005/06/13/grady.html.

The White House contact is Bob Hopkins, (202) 456-6098 or rhopkins@ostp.eop.gov. For information from the NSF, contact Joanne Tornow, (703) 292-7134 or jtornow@nsf.gov.