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KU Engineering Professor Wins Prestigious CAREER Award, $400,000 in Funding

Friday, March 6, 2009

Michael Detamore, assistant professor in chemical and petroleum engineering at the University of Kansas School of Engineering, has won the prestigious CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation. The $400,000 award, along with a $394,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health, will be used in research that will include looking at tissue regeneration and the use of umbilical cord stem cells in regeneration.
Michael Detamore. Photo courtesy Arthritis Foundation

The NSF’s Faculty Early Career Development “CAREER” Program supports junior faculty members who “exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.”

“It’s nice to be recognized,” Detamore said. “It’s hard to get funding at times and in this climate, so to secure something so prestigious and large is exciting.

“This grant will fund the research and will fund at least one grad student through five full years, which is longer than the usual grant. Over the course of the award, we want to do a lot of studies working with umbilical cord stem cells. There hasn’t been a lot of work done with these cells and musculoskeletal tissue generation.”

Utilizing umbilical cord stem cells allows researchers to sidestep societal concerns over use of embryonic stem cells, Detamore said.

“This is something that could be accessible to the average person, and there is no painful harvesting procedure.”

The award also includes funding for educational objectives, such as involvement with the Project Discovery summer engineering camp for teen girls at the School of Engineering.

“These awards are indicative of the quality of the research that Michael does and the quality of person that he is,” said Professor Laurence Weatherley, chair of the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering. “The CAREER Award is highly competitive and highly sought after. We congratulate Michael and applaud him on his work.”

Detamore sees the award as a validation of the School of Engineering’s bioengineering program, and he hopes it will help serve as a catalyst for growth.

“With an award like this, I can draw from a very talented pool of students. We just started the bioengineering program in 2007. This award can help show prospective students the great opportunities that they can have as part of the program and here at KU.”

For more information about the CAREER Award, visit http://www.nsf.gov. For more information about the KU School of Engineering and the bioengineering program, visit http://engr.ku.edu.

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