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Intellect

Third mechanical engineering prof in two years wins prestigious NSF honor

CAREER award goes to Brian Jensen

The National Science Foundation recently awarded a BYU mechanical engineering professor the CAREER award, an honor given to the most promising junior faculty in the nation who are recognized as outstanding teachers, scholars and researchers.

Brian Jensen is the third member of his department to win the award in just the last two years.

Joel Griffitts, microbiology and molecular biology and Thomas Knotts, chemical engineering, also won CAREER awards this year, which were announced previously. 

Lancing genes

Jensen's award, which provides $400,000 in research funding over five years, will go toward his research for improving microscale lances. 

These lances are like tiny spikes that can inject DNA into other cells.  Researchers can use electrical forces to attract DNA to the outside of the spikes, press them down into cells and then reverse the polarity of the electrical force to push the DNA into the cells.

Currently, other methods of injecting DNA into cells are less efficient, but this new method has a higher rate of success and could ultimately be used for gene therapy.

Jensen said receiving the award was “very gratifying.”

“It makes me feel like I’ve been doing the right thing for all these years,” he said.  “Mostly I’m excited to use this award to work with students.  That’s what I love about my job, and this award just gives me more opportunities to do that.”

Writer: Jordon Trebas

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