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Serious recognition from the NSF

Bryan Berger, P.C. Rossin Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, is one of three outstanding young professors at Lehigh University to receive a significant boost to their research endeavors, courtesy of the National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Awards.

The NSF CAREER program is considered one of the most prestigious awards granted by the NSF. They are awarded annually in support of junior faculty members across the U.S. who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research. Each award provides stable support at the level of approximately $500,000 for a five year period. The three professors join an active and successful group of Lehigh engineering faculty who have received NSF CAREER Awards.

It is estimated that more than 40% of all currently developed drugs fail in preclinical evaluation due to low drug solubility, which reduces in vivo bioavailability and results in poor overall drug efficacy. Berger is seeking to drastically improve this situation through "Scalable Biosurfactant Synthesis."

This method enables engineering of biosurfactants for specific applications through screening and selection from cell culture as well as simplifies downstream recovery and purification steps after synthesis. The technique provides for scalable, constitutive expression, and can be tailored to biomedical, food, cosmetics, materials, energy or other key applications.

In 2013, earlier work on this project was awarded a National Innovation Award at TechConnect World, the world's largest multi-disciplinary multi-sector conference and marketplace of vetted innovations, innovators and technology business developers and funders. The TechConnect World conference is held in conjunction with the National Innovation Summit and Showcase. In support of the White House and Congressional calls for innovation commercialization initiatives, the Showcase celebrates the Nation's top innovations supported through federal funding programs.

Read more about the CAREER Award winners in the Lehigh Engineering news center.

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