Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Home > News > Chemical Engineering alumnus Brent Hoffman (BS'2001) wins the 2015 NSF CAREER award

Chemical Engineering alumnus Brent Hoffman (BS'2001) wins the 2015 NSF CAREER award

Dr. Brenton Hoffman BS (2001, Lehigh), PhD (2007, U. of Pennsylvania) has been selected for a five-year, $500,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award for his research on the molecular mechanisms that living cells use to detect and respond to mechanical forces, an emerging field termed mechanobiology. Specifically, Brent engineers proteins that act as molecular-scale “strain gauges” to report forces inside living cells. With the support from the CAREER grant, Brent’s laboratory will use this technology to understand the interplay of mechanical loading, biochemical signaling, and protein dynamics in living cells. Understanding how mechanical stimulation can be used to both manipulate normal cell behavior as well as its role in mechanically-sensitive disease states has implications for fields ranging from tissue engineering and regenerative medicine to atherosclerosis and cancer medicine.

The award will also support public outreach of this research effort by developing Java applets to promote science education through integration of physics, biology, chemistry and math.

Brent graduated with Highest Honors with a BS in Chemical Engineering from Lehigh University in 2001 and received the Harry M. Ullman Chemistry Prize. He attended graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania, completing his PhD in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering with Professor John Crocker in 2007. Following his graduate studies, Brent joined the Robert M. Berne Cardiovascular Research Center at the University of Virginia as a postdoctoral scholar in the laboratory of Dr. Martin Schwartz. In 2012, he joined the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Duke University where he is currently an Assistant Professor.

Brent has authored or co-authored papers in leading journals that include Nature, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Current Biology, Physical Review Letters, and the Journal of Cell Science. He was an invited participant at the German-American Kavli Frontiers of Science Meeting in 2014. In 2013, he received both a Basil O’Connor Starter Scholar Award from the March of Dimes and a Searle Scholar Award, which is given annually to 15 outstanding young researchers in the biomedical sciences.

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Posted March 23, 2015

Brenton Hoffman

Assistant Professor Brent Hoffman of Department of Biomedical Engineering at Duke University.