Sanket Deshmukh, assistant professor of chemical engineering at Virginia Tech, has received a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The five-year, $500,000 CAREER project titled “Investigating Nanosheets of Thermosensitive Polymer Grafted Nanoparticles: Integrated Research and Education” will support computational and theoretical research of the behavior of two-dimensional nanosheets of nanoparticles and an education program to incorporate artificial intelligence into the engineering curriculum. The research will provide molecular-level understanding of the two-dimensional packing of functionalized polymer nanoparticles to establish design rules for producing systems with desired packing and mechanical properties. These systems have applications in areas ranging from optoelectronics to the biomedical field. For example, in the biomedical field, membranes of these nanosheets can be used for selective transport and separation of ions and small biomolecules. The integrated education plan will incorporate machine learning methods and data science concepts into the engineering undergraduate and graduate curriculum.

“One of the most satisfying parts of receiving the CAREER award is that your research work and ideas have been recognized and appreciated by the top scientists in your field of research, making this award a true honor”, Deshmukh said. “This grant will allow my research group to develop and apply computational methods and tools to accelerate the design and development of hybrid materials for the future. It's all very exciting!”

The CAREER grant is NSF’s most prestigious award for junior faculty, and is given for creativity in research and potential for future academic leadership.

Prior to joining Virginia Tech in August 2016, Deshmukh was a research scientist and a postdoc at the North Carolina State University and Argonne National Laboratory, respectively. He received a Bachelors in Chemistry and Masters in Polymer Science from the University of Pune, India. His PhD is in Chemical Engineering from the University College Dublin, Ireland.