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March 8, 2007


With 14 Active Awards, CCNY Currently Leads All New York State Public Colleges and Universities

NEW YORK, March 8, 2007 – Ilona Kretzschmar, Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering in The Grove School of Engineering at The City College of New York (CCNY), has been awarded a five-year, $449,386 National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER grant. The award will support her investigation of “uniquely functionalized nanoparticles for hierarchical self-assembly of three-dimensional structures” and be used to create new education opportunities for CCNY students.

CAREER grants are NSF’s most prestigious award for early-career faculty. The award to Professor Kretzschmar, effective March 1, is the second CAREER award to CCNY faculty members in as many months, and brings to 14 the number of active CAREER awards to CCNY faculty. CCNY currently leads all New York State public colleges and universities in active CAREER awards, according to NSF data.

In her research, Professor Kretzschmar plans to modify particles to have “patchy” surfaces, analogous to the patches on a soccer ball, so they can be connected to other particles using molecular linkers. “If you know the position of the patch and the way the patch reacts, you can control the assembly,” she explained. “The future of nanotechnology is the ability to control the position of nanoparticles in structures.”

The ability to control composition and position is essential to self-assembly of three-dimensional nanostructures that can be used in such fields as photonics and semiconductor electronics, Professor Kretzschmar added. “Three-dimensional structures can overcome the inherent limitations of silicon technology, which currently is restricted to two-dimensional surfaces that are running out of space.”

In addition to supporting Professor Kretzschmar’s research, the grant will be applied toward three educational initiatives to enhance education opportunities for CCNY’s diverse student body. Professor Kretzschmar, who conducts a research program for visiting international students, plans to organize a similar program to enable CCNY undergraduates to do research at institutions outside the United States. 

She also proposed to develop an early career mentoring program for women and minority students, in collaboration with the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation. Additionally, she is collaborating with CCNY’s Media and Communication Arts department to train journalism and film students to produce stories about nanotechnology and its potential applications.

Professor Kretzschmar joined the CCNY faculty in 2004. Born in the former Germany Democratic Republic (East Germany), she holds a Diploma and Ph.D. in Chemistry from Technical University of Berlin. In addition, she was a Fedeor-Lynen Fellow in Chemistry at Harvard University and a Postdoctoral Associate in Electrical Engineering at Yale University before coming to CCNY.

About The Grove School of Engineering at CCNY

The Grove School of Engineering at The City College of New York, formerly the CCNY School of Engineering, is the only public engineering school within New York City. It offers Bachelors, Masters and Ph.D. degrees in seven fields: biomedical, chemical, civil, computer, electrical, and mechanical engineering and computer science. The School is recognized nationally for the excellence of its instructional and research programs and ranks among the most diverse engineering schools in the country. On November 28, 2005, the CUNY Board of Trustees named the School in honor of Dr. Andrew S. Grove, a member of the CCNY Class of 1960, and a co-founder and former chairman of Intel Corp., the world’s leading producer of microprocessors.

About The City College of New York

For 160 years, The City College of New York has provided low-cost, high-quality education for New Yorkers in a wide variety of disciplines. Over 13,000 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the School of Architecture, the School of Education, the Grove School of Engineering, the Center for Worker Education and the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education.