Malko's award will advance his research in the development of new hybrid materials that could offer a versatile platform for optoelectronic applications. In particular, they show promise for the next generation of photovoltaic solar cells that will harness sunlight for use as an ecofriendly and renewable energy-generating technology.
"This project is based on our previously funded research that studied elemental energy transfer processes and surface modifications in various configurations of hybrid nanostructures," Malko said. "At the end of this five-year CAREER project, we want to be able to apply all the new physics we learned to create thin film, flexible and cost-effective prototype solar-cell modules, which will able to efficiently convert solar light to electric power."
For decades, researchers have known that light from the sun provides an almost limitless supply of energy. The challenge has been to develop efficient PV modules that can harvest solar energy to create electricity.
Recent advances in the nanostructure-based PV architectures and light-harvesting strategies have already reduced the modules' costs and improved their efficiencies. The changes should hasten economically competitive renewable energy sources, Malko said.
Malko said the award was a result of collaborations with other University faculty and schools. He and his team are working closely with colleagues in the
"Earning a CAREER award is a major accomplishment," said Dr.
Malko joined UT
Bleris' award 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.
"This is a revolutionary era for biomedical engineers. We now have the ability to control and modify the genome at a single nucleotide resolution. The opportunities are endless," Bleris said. "TALEs are newly discovered proteins that can be engineered to target specific nucleotide sequences in cells and can act as regulators of gene expression at the transcriptional level."
For this project, Bleris and his team will develop TALE-based genome editing technologies for high-throughput experiments.
"We hope to use these technologies to unravel cellular and disease properties, and eventually discover novel therapeutics," Bleris said.
Bleris also will develop a customized special-topics class on synthetic biology. The role and properties of student networks and collaborative learning will be explored.
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' work on TALE-based genome editing technologies has significant potential for treating a host of diseases," said Dr.
Bleris joined the
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