Rice University electrical and computer engineer Jacob Robinson is one of four winners of the inaugural Materials Today Rising Star Awards.
The journal announced the awards in conjunction with its Sept. 27-28 workshop at Rice, titled “The Future of Materials Science in the Next Two Decades.”
The awards recognize early career faculty in materials science and engineering “who have demonstrated themselves to be exceptionally capable researchers with the potential to become future leaders in the field.”
Robinson was honored in the “sensors” category. His lab specializes in nanoscale technologies with the ability to control and record specific cells within the brains of organisms to treat neurological disorders.
The lab’s technologies include a flexible microfluidics platform with nanoscale needles that allow researchers to control and characterize neurological signals in small animal models. Recent research studied signaling in hydra, squid-like animals that are hard to contain by any other means. The National Science Foundation has since funded further research into the animal, which appears to have achieved a kind of biological immortality.
Robinson, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and of bioengineering, is part of the newly announced Neuroengineering Initiative at Rice, formed as part of the university’s Vision for the Second Century, Second Decade, to advance the world’s understanding of the brain.
The Elsevier journal also honored Yuebing Zheng of the University of Texas at Austin for advanced manufacturing, Jian Wang of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for materials genome work, and Xuanhe Zhao of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for bio and soft materials science.