Rabia Yazicigil Receives NSF CAREER and ENG Early Career Excellence in Research Awards

By Chloe Wojtanik, Hariri Institute for Computing

Hariri Faculty Affiliate Rabia Yazicigil has been recognized with two prestigious awards: the National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) Award and an Early Career Excellence in Research Award from the BU College of Engineering.

Rabia Yazicigil, Assistant Professor, College of Engineering (Electrical and Computer Engineering and Biomedical Engineering)

Yazicigil is an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering (ECE) and biomedical engineering (BME), affiliated faculty member of the Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry Program, core faculty member at the Biological Design Center, and faculty affiliate of Hariri Institute and CISE. At Boston University, she leads the Wireless Integrated Systems and Extreme Circuits Laboratory (WISE-Circuits Laboratory).  Her research is focused on innovating energy-efficient integrated circuits and system solutions in diverse fields, including biosensing, information theory, signal processing, and secure wireless communications.

Yazicigi’s award-winning NSF CAREER project, “Secure Miniaturized Bio-Electronic Sensors for Real-Time In-Body Monitoring,” aims to create the first-of-its-kind secure and hybrid bio-electronic sensor used to track real-time and accurate disease progression while still protecting the user’s confidential medical information. 

Rabia Yazicigil (ECE) and doctoral student Mandy Liu show off the smart capsule.

Her work establishes the field of Cyber-Secure Biological Systems (CSBS) to deliver accurate, safe, and secure real-time in-body monitoring through the use of genetically engineered, biological systems augmented with custom-designed electronics. This technology is a tool that can be used to gain insights on internal bodily events, early detection of water contamination, and supporting sustainable manufacturing measures. The new field of CSBS combines semiconductor-enabled platforms with the redesigning of organisms through engineering for accurate real-time monitoring and control.

Yazicigil was also awarded The Early Career Excellence in Research Award from the College of Engineering, which celebrates the newest and most groundbreaking research conducted by tenure-track faculty at the College of Engineering who are within 10 years of receiving their PhD. This award recognizes Yazicigil’s work in creating novel engineering technologies and methods to address societal challenges. 

In addition to her work in cyber-secure biological systems, Yazicigil has made important contributions to the field of energy- and spectrally-efficient wireless communications, wireless security, and signal processing techniques. Among her achievements, Yazicigil and collaborators developed and demonstrated the first integrated Guessing Random Additive Noise Decoding (GRAND) chip, a universal decoding method agnostic to the code structure. GRAND aims to identify the noise effect, that has impacted the transmitted or stored data in digital information exchange.

“One of the most rewarding aspects of my work is witnessing its impact on society,” said Yazicigil. “When I design hardware, it’s not just about functionality; it’s about the meaningful role it plays in people’s lives. Without a clear societal application, it feels like a piece of the puzzle is missing.” 

Learn more about her work here.