Batra and Fazio Receive NSF Fellowships

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded two Graduate Student Fellowships to APAM students.

Arunabh Batra, a graduate student in Solid State Physics working with Prof. Latha Venkataraman, received the fellowship this year. The Venkataraman group works to measure fundamental properties of single molecule devices, seeking to understand the interplay of physics, chemistry and engineering at the nanometer scale. The underlying focus of their research is to fabricate single molecule circuits, a molecule attached to two electrodes, with varied functionality, where the circuit structure is defined with atomic precision. Their experiments provide a deeper understanding of the fundamental physics of electron transport, while laying the groundwork for technological advances at the nanometer scale. Arunabh is currently working on new methods of fabricating molecular circuits using carbon nanotube electrodes. This method would provide a new platform for exploring electronic conductance, molecular structure, and coupling between molecules and one-dimensional electrodes.

Batra follows in the footsteps of Teresa Fazio, a graduate student in Materials Science and Engineering working with Prof. Shalom Wind, who is a continuing awardee. Fazio studies protein-DNA interactions which repair cancer-causing mutations. This requires massively parallel single-molecule biophysics experiments. “As a materials science student, I fabricate nanoscale patterns on microscope slides to tether DNA molecules in organized arrays, improving the throughput of these experiments by two orders of magnitude over previous methods. Currently, my work focuses on fluorescently labeling DNA molecules at precise locations to create optical maps of the genome” said Fazio.

The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program recognizes outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees in the U.S. and abroad. Fellows share in the prestige and opportunities that become available when they are selected. Fellows benefit from a three-year annual stipend of $30,000 along with a $10,500 cost of education allowance for tuition and fees, a one-time $1,000 international travel allowance and the freedom to conduct their own research at any accredited U.S., or foreign institution of graduate education they choose.

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