Campus: San Francisco -- September 28, 2007

Three SF State faculty honored by NSF for research:
Biochemists and computer scientist receive nearly $2 million in early career awards

Three faculty members at San Francisco State University have been recognized by the National Science Foundation (NSF) with Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) awards. Biochemists Teaster Baird, Jr. and Andrew Ichimura, and computer scientist Rahul Singh received cash awards totaling $1,918,392.

The Faculty Early Career Development Grant Program is the National Science Foundation's most prestigious award for new faculty. The CAREER program recognizes and supports the early career-development activities of faculty who are most likely to become the academic leaders of the future.

Baird, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, is a native of Ashland, Miss. and resident of Brisbane, Calif. He holds a PhD in biochemistry from Duke University. His research examines how specific enzymes called serine proteases recognize their targets in metabolic activity. He will use his award of $827,790 to provide high school students with stipends that will allow them to work with him in his lab over several successive summers.

Ichimura, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, is a native of Allentown, Penn. and resident of San Francisco. He received his PhD from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. His research focuses on making nanoscale materials with novel electrical properties, particularly alkali metal doped zeolites, porous minerals with free electrons that may find practical applications as detectors or sensors. Ichimura plans to use the $589,548 in funding to support undergraduate and graduate research in his lab and to purchase equipment essential to research with nanoscale materials.

Singh, assistant professor of computer science, is a native of New Delhi, India. He holds a PhD in computer science from the University of Minnesota. His research pertaining to his award of $501,054 involves the development of algorithms and techniques that allow such biochemical data as the structure of molecules to be stored, queried, retrieved and interacted with via computers. As director of the computer science component of SF State's Computing for Life Sciences program, Singh is dedicated to establishing the field of molecular informatics to increase the impact of computer science in biological and pharmaceutical research and development.

"Only eight other universities in the California State University system have ever received an NSF CAREER award, and none of them have ever received three in one year,” said Sheldon Axler, dean of SF State's College of Science and Engineering. “This extraordinary accomplishment reflects the outstanding quality of our faculty and their devotion to integrating their world-class research with teaching." Over the past five years SF State math and science faculty have received a total of five NSF CAREER grants.

Contact: Denize Springer, (415) 405-3803; (415) 338-1665;

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