NAE Awards The Grainger Foundation Frontiers of Engineering Grants for Advancement of Interdisciplinary Research


Wed, March 16, 2016

Washington, DC, March 16, 2016 —

Two Grainger Foundation Frontiers of Engineering Grants of $30,000 each have been awarded to attendees of the National Academy of Engineering’s (NAE) 2015 U.S. Frontiers of Engineering (FOE) Symposium.

Yun Raymond Fu (Northeastern University) and Xue Han (Boston University) have received a Grainger Grant to “derive principles of brain neural network architecture using novel machine learning algorithms.” The grant will support the team’s work to combine biological knowledge and novel machine learning techniques to advance understanding of the brain’s neural networks. Specifically, Fu and Han have devised a system that can record thousands of individual neurons in living mice brains at millisecond scale. Using machine learning techniques and taking spatiotemporal information into account, Fu and Han hope to provide a more meaningful explanation for dynamic neuron activities.

The second Grainger Grant has been awarded to Grace O’Connell (UC Berkeley) and Jeanette Garcia (IBM Almaden Research Center) for the research of “biocompatibility and bioprinting of soft materials for tissue repair.” The pair will explore treatment solutions for patients with musculoskeletal system disease by evaluating bulk mechanical properties of 3-D printed soft polymers for intervertebral disc and cartilage repair and assessing the biocompatibility of those polymers for cell viability and growth on 3-D printed scaffolds.

“The collaborations of early-career engineers aimed at improving our quality of life are supported by the Grainger Grants,” said NAE President C. D. Mote, Jr. “I congratulate this year’s recipients and am looking forward to seeing their ideas stimulated by the U.S. FOE symposia.”

Frontiers of Engineering is an NAE program that brings together outstanding early-career engineers from industry, universities, and government to discuss pioneering technical work and leading-edge research in various engineering fields and industry sectors. The goal is to facilitate interactions and exchange of techniques and approaches across fields and facilitate networking among the next generation of engineering leaders. The Grainger Foundation Frontiers of Engineering Grants provide seed funding for U.S. FOE participants who are at U.S.-based institutions to enable further pursuit of important new interdisciplinary research and projects stimulated by the U.S. FOE symposia.

The Grainger Foundation, an independent, private foundation, based in Lake Forest, Illinois, was established in 1949 by William W. Grainger, founder of W.W. Grainger Inc.

Founded in 1964, the U.S. National Academy of Engineering is a private, independent, nonprofit institution that provides engineering leadership in service to the nation. Its mission is to advance the well-being of the nation by promoting a vibrant engineering profession and by marshalling the expertise and insights of eminent engineers to provide independent advice to the federal government on matters involving engineering and technology.

Randy Atkins
Randy Atkins
Senior Media Relations Officer
Janet Hunziker
Janet Hunziker
Senior Program Officer, Frontiers of Engineering