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Week of October 3, 2011

Presidential early career awards go to three faculty




Three U-M researchers have received the nation’s highest honor for professionals at the outset of their independent research careers, the White House announced Sept. 26.

Chemist Anne McNeil, atmospheric scientist Christiane Jablonowski and medical research investigator Christine Freeman are among the 94 recipients of the 2010 Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers.

“It is inspiring to see the innovative work being done by these scientists and engineers as they ramp up their careers — careers that I know will be not only personally rewarding but also invaluable to the nation,” President Obama said in the White House announcement.

Jablonowski, assistant professor of atmospheric, oceanic and space sciences, College of Engineering (CoE), was nominated by the U.S. Department of Energy. The award will support her research on new frontiers in climate and weather modeling. Jablonowski uses a technique called adaptive mesh refinement to bridge the spatial scales between local, regional and global phenomena in climate models without the prohibitive computational costs of global high-resolution simulations.

McNeil, assistant professor of chemistry, LSA; and macromolecular science and engineering, CoE, was nominated by the U.S. Department of Defense. The award will support her work developing new organic materials that have applications in emerging technologies such as sensors, solar cells, light-emitting diodes and artificial muscles.

Freeman, a research investigator in internal medicine, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, was nominated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The award will support her research to improve the understanding of how the immune system contributes to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a progressive and debilitating lung disease that is currently the third leading cause of death in the United States. Freeman uses lung tissue from COPD patients to address key questions about the disease.

Each year, 16 federal departments and agencies nominate scientists and engineers whose work shows great promise for fostering American leadership in science and engineering and contributing to the awarding agencies’ missions. Awardees are selected for their pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology, and their commitment to community service through scientific leadership, public education or community outreach.



Katherine Weider, creative arts producer, School of Art & Design, on offering advice for students: “You can’t always imagine your future. I think you have to trust that your loves and your interests will eventually lead you to the right place.”


“Photographer as Witness: Proof Enough?” with Jill Vexler, 7-8:30 p.m. Oct. 11, Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library Gallery in Room 100

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