July, 2009assistant biology professor Nihal Dharmasiri has been awarded a Faculty Early Career Development award by the National Science Foundation (NSF).
The CAREER program offers the National Science Foundation’s most prestigious awards supporting junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research.
Dharmasiri received the five-year, $550,000 grant for his research in plant growth and development — specifically in relation to the plant hormone auxin.
“Auxin is a very small organic molecule, but it has the great ability to control the whole life of plant growth,” Dharmasiri said.
Dharmasiri added that auxin plays a major role in the regulation and development of plants throughout their life cycle. Many natural and synthetic chemicals contain auxin activity. Some of those chemicals are used as plant growth regulators and herbicides in agro-industry.
The second most prestigious award given by the NSF, the CAREER award makes its recipient eligible for the outstanding Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.