A biologist and a chemist from Virginia Tech’s College of Science have been awarded prestigious CAREER grants by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Ignacio Moore, assistant professor of biology, and Diego Troya, assistant professor of chemistry, were among this year’s grant recipients.

CAREER awards are made to outstanding young faculty members who present career development plans that effectively integrate research and education, with an emphasis on combining the excitement of research with inspired teaching. The CAREER program offers the NSF’s most prestigious awards for outstanding faculty early in their profession.

Moore will use the five-year, $748,000 grant to help support his research of reproduction in tropical birds and will develop a study-abroad course in Ecuador for undergraduates, which will focus on biodiversity, ecology and evolution of animals and plants in the Andes Mountains and Galapagos Islands.

Moore earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona and his doctorate from Oregon State University. Following postdoctoral training at the University of Washington, he joined the Virginia Tech faculty in 2004. Moore’s main research area is the interaction between hormone systems, behavior, and reproduction in vertebrates.

Troya’s five-year grant of $608,000 will further his research into the theoretical understanding of the dynamics of gas/organic-surface reactions. The work is focused on developing fundamental studies of reactions occurring between small gaseous radicals and molecules present in the environment and organic surfaces that mimic polymers and surfactants of atmospheric relevance. As an integral part of the project, Troya will improve the quality of low-cost theoretical methods that are required to study chemical reactions in detail. The work will have a broader impact both on our understanding of basic chemical reaction dynamics and through Troya’s involvement with several Hispanic-serving institutions in Florida and Texas.

Troya earned his doctorate from the Universidad de La Rioja in Spain. After a post doctorate at Northwestern University, he joined the Virginia Tech faculty in 2004.

Over the years, Virginia Tech faculty members have done well in this competition. Currently, there are more than two dozen CAREER winners among the university’s active faculty.

The College of Science at Virginia Tech gives students a comprehensive foundation in the scientific method. Outstanding faculty members teach courses and conduct research in biology, chemistry, economics, geosciences, mathematics, physics, psychology, and statistics. The college is dedicated to fostering a research intensive environment and offers programs in nano-scale and biological sciences, information theory and science, and supports research centers—in areas such as biomedical and public health sciences, and critical technology and applied science—that encompass other colleges at the university. The College of Science also houses programs in pre-medicine and scientific law.

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