2016 Research Award Winners

Senior Researcher

Dr. Lijun Wang

Dept. Natural Resources and Environmental Design 
School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences

Dr. Wang has 20 years of experience as a process engineer advancing bioprocessing and biofuel research. He focuses his efforts on converting biomass info biofuels and bio-based products and improving energy efficiency in processing facilities. Wang is one of three thrust leaders of the interdisciplinary NSF CREST Bioenergy Center to lead the biomass gasification research. He has been very active in biofuel research with an impressive record of funding from NSF, DOE, USDA, DOD and the state of North Carolina totaling more than $10 million. His research has generated two books, 44 book chapters and 41 peer-reviewed journal articles since the fall of 2007. In his role as educator, Wang teaches undergraduate and graduate-level courses in bioprocess engineering, and advises graduate students in energy and environmental systems, computational engineering and nanoengineering.

Outstanding Young Investigator

Dr. Robert Newman

Dept. of Biology
College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Newman's research is centered on understanding how cellular signaling networks are altered in disease states such as diabetes, cancer and various immune disorders. To accomplish this, his lab utilizes proteomics approaches and novel fluorescent-based technologies to study the organization and regulation of cellular signal transduction pathways. He has been awarded over $500,000 from the NIH and $1.3 million dollars from the NSF as either PI or Co-PI. Since joining the faculty at NC A&T, he has published nine peer-reviewed articles. His work has been cited 400 times with eight high index publications and he has contributed to one patent. In addition to his considerable strengths in research and scholarly activities, he also demonstrates excellence in teaching. A highly impactful course that he teaches is a two-semester, HHMI-sponsored discovery-based undergraduate research course (known as SEA-PHAGES) where students isolate, characterize and sequence the genomes of novel bacterial viruses.

Rookie of the Year
2016 award winner Dr. Cho

Dr. Sung-Jin Cho

Dept. of Nanoengineering
Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering

Dr. Cho's research interest focuses on nanotechnology for energy storage material. His goals are to design, synthesize and analyze new structural nanoarchitectured energy storage materials for multiple applications. He has received funding from VF Corporation to design an Advanced Flexible, Wearable and High Energy Lithium Battery. He is a productive scholar, publishing seven peer-reviewed articles, one book chapter and one filed patent since his appointment.

Intellectual Property Award
2016 research award winners Dr. Kelkar and Dr. Zhang

Drs. Ajit Kelkar and Lifeng Zhang

Dept. Nanoengineering
Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering

During the past academic year, Drs. Kelkar and Zhang have been granted three patents,  filed four invention disclosures, and have an additional patent application pending. The duo has leveraged these intellectual properties to establish potential business partnerships and promote invention-related new nanotechnologies. They are in discussions with over 10 companies including local companies such as VF Jeanswear, BGF Industries, Highland Industries and Honda Aircraft that may lead to commercial applications of their patents. They have also met with companies outside of Greensboro that include Boston Scientific, NanoTechLabs, eSpin Technologies and Universal Fibers with the hopes of additional commercialization opportunities. In addition to these accomplishments Drs. Kelkar and Zhang were awarded $50,000 by VF Jeanswear to advance their nanofiber research. Dr. Kelkar’s HVARTM patent has been used by various companies including VX Corporation, Clarkson Aerospace and several divisions in the Department of Defense.