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Lehigh alumnus Dr. Leonidas Bleris wins NSF CAREER award

Lehigh alumnus Dr. Leonidas Bleris (PhD 2005, Electrical and Computer Engineering), has recently won the 2014 National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award.

The Faculty Early Career Development Program supports junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research and excellent education that are integrated in the mission of their organizations. The highly selective program is the National Science Foundationís most prestigious awards for junior faculty who are considered likely to become leaders in their field.

As part of the CAREER grant, Dr. Bleris will develop, optimize, and implement novel transcription activator-like effector (TALE) libraries and associated genome-editing technologies. These libraries act as an index of specific keys that can target, activate or turn off specific genes. The ability to probe the genome using the proposed high-throughput technology will shed new light on biological properties that could lead to new treatments for genetic diseases, such as cancer, and applications in stem cell reprogramming.

The educational plan consists of efforts linked with research, including support for the UT Dallas International Genetically Engineered Machine undergraduate synthetic biology team, and working with leading U.S. research and science policy institutions via internships.

Dr. Bleris received his undergraduate diploma in Electrical Engineering from the University of Thessaloniki, Greece, and the PhD degree in Electrical Engineering from Lehigh University under the supervision of Dr. Mayuresh Kothare. Subsequent to his PhD degree, Dr. Bleris pursued a postdoctoral fellowship in systems biology at Harvard University and then joined University of Texas-Dallas as an Assistant Professor.

Dr. Bleris' research is supported by grants from NSF, NIH, industry and other agencies.

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