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Congressman Gonzalez Announces Nearly $500,000 NSF Grant for UTRGV Computer Science

July 18, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15) today announced that the National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) $495,042 to assist Department of Computer Science studies on the algorithmic self-assembly of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).

The project is under the direction of Principal Investigator, Dr. Robert Schweller, and Co-Principal Investigator, Dr. Timothy Wylie. The project began July 1, 2018 and is estimated to continue until June 30, 2021.

The goal of this project is to better understand how to design systems of particles, such as molecules of DNA, to reliably self-assemble into complex structures based on simple rules and local interactions. The research team at UTRGV is deriving important connections between established theoretical models that inform experimental work, and pushing forward the field of nanotechnology. A long-term goal is to develop robust techniques that will allow for nanoscale matter to be "programmed" to self-assemble into target structures. With this grant, UTRGV’s Department of Computer Science will engage students in high-level Computer Science research, and prepare more undergraduate students to pursue opportunities in this field.

“I remain in awe of the exemplary research taking place in South Texas,” Congressman Gonzalez said. “Dr. Schweller and Dr. Wylie have broken barriers on a molecular level - putting UTRGV on the world stage of top tier research. I will continue to work with UTRGV to bring federal dollars to grow this and other programs that help humankind.”

“The Department of Computer Science at UTRGV is very pleased to see this national recognition and support for the work of Dr. Robert Schweller and Dr. Tim Wylie. Dr. Schweller and Dr. Wylie are performing world-class research and preparing UTRGV students for graduate studies and careers on the cutting-edge of computing. They are dedicated teachers who bring together amazing scientific research with practical, hands-on teaching and mentoring of our students at all levels of our programs. We are very proud of our excellent faculty here in Computer Science, whose commitment and efforts enable us to provide great educational opportunities to our students at UTRGV,” said Dr. Emmett Tomai, Interim Chair Department of Computer Science, College of Engineering and Computer Science, UTRGV.

The congressman looks forward to working with the NSF and students and faculty in the Department of Computer Science, to create new opportunities for future breakthroughs.