AFOSR Awards Grants to 36 Scientists and Engineers through Research Program

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) today announced it will award approximately $16.2 million in grants to 36 scientists and engineers from 30 research institutions and businesses who submitted winning research proposals through the Air Force’s Young Investigator Research Program (YIP).

The YIP is open to United States citizens and/or permanent residents’ who are scientists and engineers at United States research institutions who received Ph.D. or equivalent degrees in the last seven years and show exceptional ability and promise for conducting basic research of military interests.

The objective of this program is to foster creative basic research in science and engineering, enhance early career development of outstanding young investigators, and increase opportunities for the young investigators to recognize the Air Force mission and the related challenges in science and engineering.

This year, AFOSR received over 175 proposals in response to the AFOSR YIP Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) solicitation, FOA-AFRL-AFOSR-2021-0006. Thirty-six YIPs were awarded in these research areas: Aerospace Composite Materials, Aerospace Materials for Extreme Environments, Agile Science for Test and Evaluation, Atomic and Molecular Physics, Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience, Complex Networks, Computational Cognition and Machine Intelligence, Computational Mathematics, Condensed Matter Physics, Dynamic Data and Information Processing, Dynamics Materials and Interactions, Dynamical Systems and Control Theory, Electromagnetics, Energy Combustion and Non-Equilibrium Thermodynamics, GHz-THz Electronics and Materials, High Speed Aerodynamics, Human Performance and Biosystems, Laser and Optical Physics, Mathematical Optimization, Mechanics of Multifunctional Materials and Microsystems, Molecular Dynamics and Theoretical Chemistry, Multi-Scale Structural Mechanics and Prognosis, Natural Materials and Systems, Optoelectronics and Physics, Organic Materials Chemistry, Physics of Remote Sensing, Plasma and Electro-Energetic Physics, Propulsion and Power, Quantum Information Sciences, Science of Information, Computation and Fusion, Space Science, Trust and Influence, Ultrashort Pulse Laser-Matter Interactions, and Unsteady Aerodynamics and Turbulence Flows.

AFOSR is pleased to announce the first YIP award to a Historically Black College and University (HBCU), Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in the Natural Materials and Systems research portfolio.

YIP recipients receive a three year grant totaling $450,000.

The following YIP recipients and their anticipated research areas are:

  • Dr. Jamel Ali, Florida A&M University, Self-assembled Archaella Swimmers for Nanoscale Actuation and Sensing
  • Dr. Ana Asenjo Garcia, Columbia University, Superradiance, lasing, and dissipative generation of entanglement in ensembles of qubits
  • Dr. Nikolas Bouklas, Cornell University, Machine learning enabled structural mechanics
  • Dr. Lindsay Case, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dissecting the physical principles that control the spatial organization of intracellular signaling
  • Dr. Andrew Clark, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Leios: Complex Network Resilience Through Controlled Islanding and Reconnection
  • Dr. James Coder, University of Tennessee, Efficient Stabilization of the Adjoint for Turbulent Separated Flows
  • Dr. Vicky Doan-Nguyen, Ohio State University, Functional Nanofillers for Polymer Derived Ceramics
  • Dr. Tara Drake, University of New Mexico, Visible Kerr-microresonator Frequency Combs: Extending microcombs to shorter wavelengths using refractory metal oxides
  • Dr. Richard Fletcher, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Thermal transport in ultracold topological quantum matter
  • Dr. Lauren Garten, Georgia Tech Research Corporation, Growth of 2D (Sn,Ge)Se for High Response Piezoelectric and Ferroelectric Electronics
  • Dr. Federico Gasperini, Atmospheric & Space Technology Research Associates, L.L.C., Vertical Coupling in the Low-Latitude Atmosphere-Ionosphere System due to Global-Scale Waves and their Nonlinear Interactions
  • Dr. Peijun Guo, Yale University, Understanding white-light-emitting semiconductors for incoherent and coherent light sources
  • Dr. Daoru Han, University of Missouri, Multiscale, Multiphysics, and Multifidelity Modeling of Electrospray Propulsion
  • Dr. Grace Han, Brandeis University, Harnassing Photo-induced Phase Transition of Organic Materials for Catalyst Recycling
  • Dr. Alex Hanson, University of Texas at Austin, Compact Pulsed Power Systems Using GaN Devices and High-Efficiency Magnetic Structures
  • Dr. Shengxi Huang, Pennsylvania State University, Electromagnetic Field Sensing Through Superradiance in 2D Materials
  • Dr. Ryan Hurley, Johns Hopkins University, Effects of Material and Morphology on 3D Particle and Pore Dynamics During Rapid Compaction of Granular Materials
  • Dr. Ognjen Ilis, University of Minnesota, Macro-Scale and Long-Range Optical Actuation with Nanophotonic Materials
  • Dr. Zak Kassas, University of California Irvine, Dynamic Data Driven C-SPAN: Cognitive Sensing, Perception, Autonomy, and Navigation
  • Dr. Sarah King, University of Chicago, Enhancing MXene catalysis on the nanoscale
  • Dr. Bolin Liao, University of California Santa Barbara, Effect of Extreme Electric Fields on Thermal Transport in Wide-gap Semiconductors
  • Dr. Erin Lin, Ohio State University, U.S. Influence in the Western Pacific: Legacy of Historical Airstrikes on Anti-American Sentiment
  • Dr. Jia Liu, Harvard College, Optically-controlled, genetically-targeted chemical assembly of electrically functional materials for neuromodulation
  • Dr. Robyn MacDonald, University of Colorado, High-fidelity modeling of non-equilibrium gas-phase recombination for hypersonic air flows
  • Dr. Danielle Mai, Stanford University, Engineering Biomolecular Actuators from Ion-Responsive Repeat Proteins
  • Dr. Yi Mazumdar, Georgia Tech Research Corporation, Improving Rate-controlling Processes in Multiphase Detonation Systems
  • Dr. Christopher Metzler, University of Maryland College Park, Adversarial Sensing: A Self-Supervised Approach to AI-Based Multimodal Sensor Fusion
  • Dr. Mohammad Ali Miri, Research Foundation of the City University of New York, Investigating the Complexities of Linear and Nonlinear Optics for Multimode Device Applications and Optical Computing
  • Dr. Keegan Moore, University of Nebraska, Digital Engineering the Test and Modeling Process: Autonomous Methods for Reconciling Test and Model Results
  • Dr. Jason Pacheco, University of Arizona, Robust Maximum Entropy Planning, Learning and Control in Uncertain Environments
  • Dr. Jorge Poveda, University of Colorado, Multi-Time Scale Stochastic Hybrid Control: Coordinated Set-Seeking on Manifolds
  • Dr. Meisam Razaviyayn, University of Southern California, Finding Higher-order Stationary Points of Nonconvex Optimization Problems in Multi-agent, Uncertain and Adversarial Environments
  • Dr. Zhiting Tian, Cornell University, Limiting Phonon-Induced Decoherence in Superconduting Qubits
  • Dr. Ryan Truby, Northwestern University, Robotic Architected Materials with Distributed Sensorimotor Capabilities via Free-form Electrochemical Composites
  • Dr. Ilker Yildirim, Yale University, Computational architecture of high-level attention: Reverse-engineering representations and goals that drive seeing in complex, dynamic environments
  • Dr. Yue Yu, Lehigh University, Learning Peridynamic (Nonlocal) Operators: A Reliable and Generalizable Approach to Predict Material Damage

​For additional information on AFOSR YIP, send correspondence to Mrs. Ellen M. Robinson at