Zacharia wins grant from Texas Space Grants Consortium

Dr. Nicole Zacharia, assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M University, has been awarded a grant from the Texas Space Grant Consortium New Investigator Program for her materials research.Dr. Nicole ZachariaZacharia will work on "smart" textiles, which can be used to incorporate functionality into uniforms. These functionalities include actuation, sensing and health monitoring, protection to environmental stimuli, and power storage. The work will focus on electrically conducting films and simple electrochemical cells on various types of textiles.As part of the grant, Zacharia will work to recruit high school students to increase underrepresented groups in the undergraduate mechanical engineering program (especially female students) and to increase awareness of materials science. Zacharia has been and will continue to teach introduction to materials science and has been developing a set of demonstrations in the class that can be used to teach high school students.Zacharia joined the Texas A&M Engineering faculty in August 2009. She earned two bachelor's degrees and a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her research interests are in the areas of responsive soft and colloidal materials; biomimetic properties such as self-healing and self-repair in thin films; polyelectrolyte multilayers and their properties; soft lithographic and other patterning techniques; and colloidal systems, especially asymmetric particles such as Janus particles.The TSGC New Investigator Program, established in 2003, is designed to assist in professional development of faculty members or researchers who strive to begin a career in research. TSGC will accept proposals from individuals who are either currently conducting or strive to conduct research aligned with NASA's strategic plan and research requirements and do not have an established research career.Texas Space Grant Consortium anticipates awarding up to four new awards per year. Competition is open to individuals of faculty or research scientist rank at active academic institutional members of the Texas Space Grant Consortium.