Duke Engineer Wins Beckman Young Investigator Award

Biomedical engineer Jingdong Tian of Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering has been named a Beckman Young Investigator by the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation. Tian will receive $264,000 over three years to pursue research titled “High-Throughput Forward Engineering of Novel Biological Systems Using Microfluidic DNA Microchip.”

Tian aims to develop new strategies and enabling technologies for efficient engineering, fabrication, and optimization of novel, genetically encoded bionanosystems. Such technology has the potential to aid in gene medicine development, vaccine optimization, molecular evolution, and for synthetic genomics and systems biology studies. Key components of the technology include a microfluidic DNA microchip based high throughput gene and genome synthesis platform and computer software for genetic systems design and analysis.

Tian received his Ph.D. in biochemistry, cell and development biology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He was a Hoffman-La Roche Fellow of the Life Scieinces Research Foundation at Harvard Medical School before joining the Duke faculty as an assistant professor. Tian is also a member of Duke’s Institute for Genome Science & Policy.

The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation makes grants to non-profit research institutions to promote research in chemistry and the life sciences, broadly interpreted, and particularly to foster the invention of methods, instruments and materials that will open up new avenues of research in science. The Beckman Young Investigator Program is intended to provide research support to the most promising young faculty members in the early stages of academic careers in the chemical and life sciences.

As part of the grant, Tian will participate in the annual Beckman Foundation symposium for young investigators on Aug. 25-26, 2006 at the National Academy of Sciences and Engineering in Irvine, Calif.