Carola Wenk, assistant professor of computer science at The University of Texas at San Antonio, has been awarded a five-year, $400,000 Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study geometric shape handling in theory in practice.
The CAREER award is NSFs most prestigious honor for junior faculty members and is designed to support exceptionally promising college and university faculty members who are committed to the integration of research and education. Wenk is the only junior faculty in UTSAs College of Sciences who has a current NSF Career Award.
Wenk, who joined UTSA in 2004, is bridging the gap between theoretical research and applications by integrating theoretical algorithms research with real-world applications such as Global Positioning Systems (GPS), car navigation systems and computational proteomics. Essential in the interdisciplinary field of computational biology, computational proteomics applies the techniques of computer science, applied mathematics, and statistics to the large-scale study of proteins, particularly their structures and functions.
In Greece this past summer, Wenk used data from GPS receivers in school buses and taxis to develop real-time traffic estimation and prediction systems.
I would like to apply similar technology here in San Antonio and maintain a database for each road segment to determine current travel situations using GPS receivers in cars traveling all over this area, said Wenk.
Additionally, the CAREER award could help create advancements in the medical industry as Wenk and her students look to develop novel computational tools to analyze two-dimensional electrophoresis gels. The gels provide two-dimensional images that can help determine the composition of protein samples benefiting the development of pharmaceutical products.