Two SEAS faculty win prestigious NSF CAREER Awards

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Two members of the SEAS faculty recently received the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The honor is considered one of the most prestigious for up-and-coming researchers in science and engineering.

Stephen Chong, assistant professor of computer science

Chong will use the $86,000 grant to develop new methods of enforcing fine-grained, application-specific security guarantees through programming language–based techniques.

His research aims to provide new mechanisms for writing trustworthy programs while taking into account complex security requirements such as release of information, production of audit logs, availability, and anonymity. He specializes in the use of type systems, dataflow analyses, and runtime mechanisms to create practical, expressive, language-based security guarantees.

Chong received a B.A. in mathematics and science and a B.Sc. (Hons) in computer science from Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand), and a Ph.D. in computer science from Cornell University.

Prior to completing his doctoral work at Cornell, he was an associate of RHE and Associates, in Sydney, Australia, working in financial services, and a consultant at Accenture (formerly Andersen Consulting) in Wellington, New Zealand, working in government.

His previous awards include a Best Paper Award, ACM Symposium on Operating Systems Principles, 2007; and a Lockheed Martin Fellowship, 2001.

Sharad Ramanathan, assistant professor of applied physics at SEAS and of molecular and cellular biology in the FAS Center for Systems Biology and Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology

Ramanathan is using his $160,000 grant to support research that explores how neural circuits in the model organism Caenorhabditis elegans control the nematode’s locomotory decisions.

His biophysics lab studies signal processing in a number of organisms, including the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and mammalian cells, in order to understand how the cells interpret environmental cues to make developmental or behavioral decisions. He has also developed new microfluidic and optical techniques to enable the work.

Ramanathan holds an M.Sc. in chemistry from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur, India, and he received his A.M. in physics and Ph.D. in chemical physics from Harvard University. Ramanathan joined the Harvard faculty in 2000 and has also served as a technical staff member at Bell Laboratories at Alcatel-Lucent.