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Two assistant professors from the UCF Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering have been selected to receive CAREER Awards from the National Science Foundation this year. The funding will support the research of Samik Bhattacharya and Robert Steward.

Bhattacharya, whose research focuses on aerospace engineering, will explore the seas rather than the skies with his CAREER award. He’ll strive to develop a better understanding of the hydrodynamics that govern hydrofoils, or fins used to help autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) navigate the unsteady conditions of the ocean. His work will also be used to educate students of all levels on marine hydrodynamics and underwater robotics.

While Bhattacharya’s research will take him under the sea, Steward’s research will take him underneath the skin. Steward, a biomedical engineering researcher, will investigate the physical forces that govern the structure and function of endothelial cells, which line the inside of blood vessels and help major organs function properly. His discoveries could bridge the gap of knowledge in this area and lead to the development of novel therapeutic strategies for conditions caused by abnormal endothelial cells.

Bhattacharya and Steward are the seventh and eighth recipients of the NSF CAREER award in the MAE department. Three faculty members received the award in 2020, which was a record for the department.

Steward and Bhattacharya join six other MAE faculty who have won CAREER awards, including three who received the award in 2020.