Kennesaw, GA

Kennesaw State engineering professor awarded National Science Foundation CAREER grant

Amy Cheribelle

KENNESAW, GA — Yizeng Li, a professor at Kennesaw State University, has been awarded a $526,000 National Science Foundation CAREER grant to further her study of cell migration and launch an undergraduate research initiative.

The NSF’s Faculty Early Career Development Program is one of the most prestigious awards offered to early-career faculty. The award supports those who show the potential to serve as academic role models in research as well as education.

She said the funding will assist a deeper understanding of the role hydraulics play in cell migration throughout the immune response, wound healing, and cancer metastasis.

“Having studied this for years, I believe this research has the potential to make a broad impact and will inform future studies of cell migration,” said Li. “While the benefit to me is clear, I am also excited at the prospect of building the next generation of researchers by bringing KSU students into the field.”

Following her Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at the University of Michigan, Li focused her research on how cell migration is affected by the hydraulic environment of confined spaces in the body, including between layers of tissue or within tumors.

“Ultimately, our goal is to benefit human health. We believe there are implications for both physicians and pharmaceutical companies that will help with the development of new treatments for patients built on this research,” she said.

The grant will also enable Li to develop an undergraduate research program in which she hopes to hire first-time researchers and assist them in building the experience needed for their post-graduate studies.

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