WPI Professor Wins NSF CAREER Award

Contact: WPI Media Relations, 508-831-5706

WORCESTER, Mass. - July 14, 2003 - For the seventh year in a row, a young Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) faculty member has won a National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award. This is the NSF's most prestigious award for new faculty members. Terri Anne Camesano, WPI assistant professor of chemical engineering, received a CAREER Award for a research study entitled "Molecular-Scale Interactions Between Microbes and Surfaces in the Environment." Since 1995, 16 WPI professors have won CAREER Awards.

As a CAREER Award winner, Camesano was recognized as a young faculty member showing unusual promise as a researcher and educator - a teacher-scholar most likely to become one of the academic leaders of the 21st century. She received a grant that includes five years of funding totaling approximately $400,000 for her major research project.

Camesano's CAREER Award research program will address how bacterial adhesion and biofilm formation affect a wide range of problems from recurrent ear infections and dental plaque to contamination of drinking water supplies. The objectives of the program are to characterize the surfaces of pathogenic and non-pathogenic microorganisms at the single-molecule level, and to relate the physical and chemical properties of these biopolymers to bacterial adhesion to "clean" and organic-coated surfaces.

"Over the last decade our young faculty members have really become integral and valued members of the university's vibrant research programs," says William W. Durgin, associate provost and vice president for research at WPI. "These NSF awards are testimony to the quality of our young faculty, their innovative ideas, and the quality of their research."

Camesano became a WPI faculty member in 2000 - the same year she earned a Ph.D. in environmental engineering from Pennsylvania State University. In addition, she earned a master's degree in environmental engineering from the University of Arizona, and bachelor's degrees in chemical engineering and environmental science from the University of Rochester.

About Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Founded in 1865, WPI is a pioneer in technological higher education. WPI was the first university to understand that students learn best when they have the opportunity to apply the knowledge they gain in the classroom to the solution of important problems. Today its students, working in teams at more than 20 project centers around the globe, put their knowledge and skills to work as they complete professional-level work that can have an immediate positive impact on society.

WPI's innovative, globally focused curriculum has been recognized by leaders in industry, government and academia as the model for the technological education of tomorrow. Students emerge from this program as true technological humanists, well rounded, with the confidence, the interpersonal skills and the commitment to innovation they need to make a real difference in their professional and personal lives.

The university awarded its first advanced degree in 1898. Today, its first-rate research laboratories support master's and Ph.D. programs in more than 30 disciplines in engineering, science and the management of technology. Located in the heart of the region's biotechnology and high-technology sectors, WPI has built research programs-including the largest industry/university alliance in North America-that have won it worldwide recognition.