By Sara Cody
Assistant Professor Michelle Sander (ECE, MSE) has won a prestigious Young Investigator Research Award from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR). Fewer than one in four of the 230 applicants were awarded funding under the program this year.
Sander’s laboratory research centers on novel ultrafast laser sources at infrared wavelengths and photothermal imaging techniques in the mid-infrared wavelengths. Her AFOSR project proposal, “Cell Membrane Dynamics in Infrared Nerve Stimulation and Blocking,” will focus on stimulating nerves using infrared lasers to understand the biophysical mechanisms of how cells will interact with infrared electromagnetic waves.
“I am very excited to have this opportunity to study how optical infrared light can be used to stimulate or inhibit nerves and the associated underlying biophysical mechanisms,” says Sander. “In the long term, this technology has the potential to advance therapeutic approaches for nerve control, pain management and neurological diseases.”
The AFOSR research grant award recognizes researchers within five years of obtaining their doctorate degrees who “show exceptional ability and promise for conducting basic research.”