Assistant Professors Cullen Buie and Sangbae Kim of the Department of Mechanical Engineering both recently received a DARPA Young Faculty Award (YFA), which was granted to 25 tenure-track faculty members from a group of 226 applicants. As YFA recipients, Professors Buie and Kim will each receive up to $1 million in funding over the course of three years to develop their research in conjunction with DARPA efforts.
Buie’s research is focused on developing a new technique for rapid genetic transformation in which the cell envelope is characterized in real time and the time it takes to develop transformation protocols for novel microorganisms decreases from months to days. The process will lead to the rapid development of new model strains for synthetic biology and ultimately the creation of diverse, novel genetic tools.
Kim’s research addresses the challenge of creating a humanoid robot that can match our capability to perform power manipulation tasks such as axing, opening doors, and removing heavy obstacles. To accomplish this goal, he is focusing on the development of balance feedback, a new robotic platform, and autonomous control algorithms.