Marco Rolandi Wins NSF Career Award

Marco Rolandi (link:, UW assistant professor of materials science and engineering, won a five-year, $550,000 CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation to support his research on bioprotonic transistors. Rolandi’s work holds promise for developing biocompatible electronic devices for future medical applications. The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a Foundation-wide activity that offers the National Science 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. Such activities should build a firm foundation for a lifetime of leadership in integrating education and research.


Prof. Rolandi's award abstract: Proton transport plays an essential role in many natural phenomena. As such, devices that can directly measure and control protonic currents may provide new means of measuring proton transport in electrophysiology. Progress in nanoscience and nanotechnology has started to impact daily lives. However, "hard-science" disciplines often intimidate high-school students and as well as college students not in science-technology-engineering-mathematics (STEM) majors because STEM disciplines are perceived as being remote from daily experiences. To increase the science knowledge of high-school students and non-STEM majors, this project explores the fun and approachable activity of having them design graphics to depict nanoscience and nanotechnology concepts. In the process of creating graphics, students witness that nanotechnology can be an approachable and creative field, while also gaining a better understanding of the underlying science. Furthermore, scientists often communicate their results using graphics. However, little formal training in visual communication is present in the STEM curriculum. Gathering inspiration and help from working with art majors, this project introduces a new class on bionanotechnology basic elements for graphic design, where science and engineering graduate students learn how to make effective figures for their publications.

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