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February 5, 2009
THE NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION recently awarded CEMS faculty member Yiannis Kaznessis the NSF CAREER Award, one of its most prestigious awards for new faculty members. The CAREER program recognizes and supports the early career-development activities of those teacher-scholars who are most likely to become the academic leaders of the 21st century. Yiannis will receive $400,000 in research funds over the next 5 years. The topic for Yiannis's proposal was "Mathematics for Biological Engineering."
The current rapid expansion of biological knowledge offers a great opportunity to rationally engineer biological systems that respond to external signals. Indeed, the ambitious idea of engineering biological cells that function as miniature factories has given rise to a new, exciting field of research, synthetic biology.
The inherent complexity of living organisms warrants a quantitative perspective for rationalizing the construction of synthetic biosystems. Professor Kaznessis and his group focus on the development of statistical mechanical theories and accurate mathematical models of biomolecular events that provide insight into the dynamic behavior of biological systems. They also work on designing and experimenting with synthetic biological systems, such as protein devices, inducible gene networks and bio-logical AND gates, with applications in biofuels, biosensors and gene therapies.