ChBE alum is associate professor at University of Rhode Island

Chemical engineering alum Daniel Roxbury '07 '12 PhD has received an NSF Faculty Early Career and Development (CAREER) award to pursue a brand-new approach to subcellular spectral imaging.

As an assistant professor of chemical engineering at the University of Rhode Island, Roxbury is developing a strategy to deploy infinitesimal nanotubes within live cells as a way to gather important molecular information. The nanotubes, which are over 100,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair, emanate light that can be manipulated to function as a sensor, providing insight into the interactions between the nanotubes and a variety of live human cells. 

Roxbury and his team’s work will have applications in the detection of a variety of diseases, including nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, a precursor to hepatitis. 

The CAREER program offers the most prestigious award granted by NSF in support of early-career faculty. CAREER awards are granted annually in support of junior faculty members across the U.S. who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education, and the integration of education and research. Roxbury’s award provides approximately $500,000 in funding over five years.

The award is well deserved, says Anand Jagota, professor and founding chair of the Lehigh’s Department of Bioengineering department and one of Roxbury’s academic advisers during his time in the Rossin College. “At Lehigh, he excelled both in carrying out careful and painstaking experimental work but also in large-scale difficult numerical simulations. The quality and quantity of his output was excellent.” 

Jagota says this award recognizes Roxbury’s creative ideas and will further his contributions in applying novel optical techniques to problems involving interaction of nanomaterials with living cells and tissue.

Similarly, chemical and biomolecular engineering professor Jeetain Mittal, who also advised Roxbury at Lehigh, says he’s impressed by what he has accomplished in the field of biomedical research in such a short time. 

“His group's recent results on the importance of oligonucleotide length in the cellular uptake of DNA-wrapped single-walled carbon nanotubes provide much needed fundamental understanding,” Mittal says. “The support from the NSF CAREER award should allow Dan to continue his research efforts at a high level.”

Read more about Roxbury’s research here.

Daniel Roxbury

Daniel Roxbury '07 '12 PhD is an assistant professor of chemical engineering at the University of Rhode Island.