Four Yale faculty honored with Presidential Award in science and technology

Yale faculty members Mary-Louise Timmermans, Elena Gracheva, Fengnian Xia, and Rebecca Kramer-Bottiglio have been named recipients of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE).

The PECASE is the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on scientists and engineers who are early in their research careers and show promise for leadership in the field of science and technology.

Mary-Louise Timmermans, Elena Gracheva, Fengnian Xia, and Rebecca Kramer-Bottiglio
Left to right: Mary-Louise Timmermans, Elena Gracheva, Fengnian Xia, and Rebecca Kramer-Bottiglio

Established in 1996, the PECASE acknowledges the contributions scientists and engineers have made to the advancement of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education, and community outreach. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy coordinates the PECASE with participating departments and agencies, which nominate recipients.

Mary-Louise Timmermans

Timmermans, professor of geology and geophysics, conducts research involving physical oceanography of the Arctic Ocean, its heat and freshwater storage and transport, ocean mixing, and eddies and waves.

Elena Gracheva

Gracheva is an associate professor of cellular and molecular physiology and of neuroscience. Gracheva focuses her research on mammals’ ability to regulate their internal temperatures for hibernation. This research can be applied to medical interventions that require lowering a patient’s core temperature.

Fengnian Xia

Xia, the Barton L. Weller Associate Professor in Engineering and Science, focuses on light-matter interaction and photonic devices; carrier transport and electronic devices; device applications in imaging, communications, and electronics; and integration of emerging and traditional materials. Xia’s team has become one of the first to initiate black phosphorus research and propose the possible roles of thin-film phosphorus in future photonics and electronics.

Rebecca Kramer-Bottiglio

Kramer-Bottiglio, the John J. Lee Professor of Engineering, works at the intersection of materials, manufacturing, and robotics. She is developing “soft robots” that can adapt their properties, morphology, and behavior for different tasks or environments. Her lab is also creating soft, responsive sensors and actuators, and developing new multi-functional materials that are designed to reduce the complexity of responsive systems.

PECASE honorees receive a citation, a plaque, and funding from their nominating agency for up to five years to advance their research.

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