Francisco Robles, assistant professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory, has won a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation.
The CAREER Award is the NSF’s most prestigious award 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.
Robles’ award, including $597,366 over five years, will provide support for a new molecular imaging technique. The goal of his work is to gain a better understanding of the molecular and structural composition (so-called phenotypical “common-denominators”) of primary tumors that metastasize as a means to improve tumor staging. To accomplish this task, he will develop a novel optical microscopy technique, ultraviolet hyperspectral interferometric (UHI) microscopy, that probes unique endogenous absorptive and scattering properties of cells and tissues in the deep ultraviolet region of the spectrum.
“The information provided by UHI microscopy will yield unprecedented insight into a wide number of phenotypes, including molecular makeup, subcellular morphology, and nanometer-scaled structures to identify aggressive cancers,” said Robles, a researcher in the Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience at Georgia Tech. “The focus here is on melanoma, but the approach can potentially be used to improve prognosis of all cancers.”
In addition to funding innovative research, the NSF CAREER Award is also for educational outreach. As part of his award, Robles will develop a summer camp for middle school-aged children focused on introducing them to the use of light in life sciences.
Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering
Georgia Institute of Technology