CHAMPAIGN,Ill. — University of Illinois professor Gang Logan Liu is among the 94 researchers to receive the 2011 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the highest honor the U.S. government confers upon young investigators establishing their independent research careers.
Each PECASE recipient will receive up to five years of funding to pursue research avenues of their choice. The winners are recognized for their innovation in science and technology as well as their commitment to education and outreach.
“It is inspiring to see the innovative work being done by these scientists and engineers as they ramp up their careers – careers that I know will be not only personally rewarding but also invaluable to the nation,” President Barack Obama said in the award announcement. “That so many of them are also devoting time to mentoring and other forms of community service speaks volumes about their potential for leadership, not only as scientists but as model citizens.”
Liu, who is a researcher in the Micro and Nanotechnology Lab, specializes in using nanoengineering methods to understand and control molecular and cellular systems. He was nominated by the U.S. Department of Energy for his part in developing high-performance surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) devices and techniques, which are used to study chemicals and biological molecules adsorbed on a solid surface for energy and biodefense applications.
Liu has worked to enhance the sensitivity and reliability of large-scale integrated SERS devices and detection techniques and explores SERS applications in physics, chemistry and biology, including proteomic microarrays, ultrasensitive 3-D living cell nanoimaging, optofluidic microdevices and quantum nanophotonics.
Liu earned his doctorate in bioengineering at the University of California at Berkeley in 2006 and completed a fellowship at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory before joining the faculty at U. of I. in 2008.
PECASE recipients will receive their awards at a White House ceremony on October 14.