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University of Nevada, Reno’s Qizhen Lie awarded $569,000 National Science Foundation grant



Qizhen Li of the University of Nevada, Reno chemical and materials engineering department wins highly competitive National Science Foundation award. Photo courtesy of University of Nevada, Reno.

Researcher Qizhen Li to develop and study magnesium-based nanoporous materials

Qizhen Li, a faculty member in the University of Nevada, Reno’s chemical and materials engineering department, has been awarded a highly competitive National Science Foundation five-year CAREER Award.

The $569,120 award will allow her to develop, study and experiment with magnesium-based nanoporous materials.

“The success of this research will allow full advantage to be taken of nanoporous magnesium for a variety of potential applications, such as in energy storage, biomedical joint replacements, and structural parts such as auto body parts.” Li said.

Nanoporous magnesium applications would utilize combinations of mechanical properties, ultralight weight, excellent energy absorption capability and multifunctionality that accompany the introduction of nanopores into nonporous metals. The material could be used to replace iron-based or titanium-based products.

The prestigious NSF Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program Award is given to faculty members at the beginning of their academic careers and is one of NSF’s most competitive awards, placing focus on high-quality research and education activities.

“This nationally recognized standard of excellence is a major accomplishment for Qizhen,” Manos Maragakis, dean of the College of Engineering, said. “This type of award is one of the national standards of accomplishment for faculty in the early stages of their career. We all congratulate Qizhen for this significant step.”

“An award like this speaks well for the excellence of the faculty and the research programs in our College. The College and the University are committed to providing our young faculty the best support possible for them to succeed, and accomplishments like Li’s make all of us particularly proud.”

The CAREER Program is a National Science Foundation-wide activity that offers the Foundation’s most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty 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.

The NSF grant will allow Li to bring graduate and undergraduate students into the project, to integrate research and education/outreach activities to train undergraduate and graduate students for the workforce, and to stimulate the interest and participation of high school students and underrepresented student groups in science and engineering.

“With this, we can give young students access to work in a research lab, to expose them to this environment with hands on experience and attract them to the field of materials engineering,” Li said.

Nevada’s land-grant university founded in 1874, the University of Nevada, Reno has an enrollment of more than 17,000 students. The University is home to the state’s medical school and one of the country’s largest study-abroad programs, and offers outreach and education programs in all Nevada counties. For more information, visit www.unr.edu. The University of Nevada, Reno is part of the Nevada System of Higher Education.

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