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Hampton University Assistant Professor, Dr. Rupak Dua, Awarded $300, 000 Research Initiation Award to Develop Anti-bacterial Surfaces

HAMPTON, Va. – (August 3, 2020) – Hampton University Assistant Professor, Dr. Rupak Dua, was recently awarded a Research Initiation Award for $300,000 by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

As additive manufacturing has become an attractive option for the development of customized implant of polyether ether ketone (PEEK) polymer for biomedical applications, bacterial infections, and bone osseointegration problems hampers its use in clinics. To address this issue, Dr. Dua, who teaches in the Department of Chemical Engineering within the School of Engineering & Technology at Hampton University, will develop a biomimetic surface at the nanoscale on a customized polyether ether ketone (PEEK) structure to provide inherent anti-bacterial properties and enhanced bone integration properties.

“Congratulations to Dr. Rupak Dua on this exciting and very deserving award. His work is sure to make strides in the biomedical field,” said Hampton University President, Dr. William R. Harvey. “Our faculty continue to make important contributions to society. Their research is not only being recognized nationally, but is impacting the entire world.”

The results of the research that Dr. Dua will be conducting with this award can have a wide-ranging impact in the biomedical, chemical, and food industries where bacterial contamination is of concern.

“I am very grateful for the support of my Department, School, and University in receiving this award. Without the proper guidance and encouragement from my peers, it would have been a difficult task to achieve this milestone in my career,” said Dr. Dua. The award will also provide a great opportunity to selected undergraduate students enrolled at Hampton University from all STEM departments in their sophomore or junior years who exhibit a keen interest in the material, additive manufacturing, and biomedical research. Dr. Dua will mentor a total of two (2) undergraduate students/year who can be funded from this proposal. However, he welcomes other interested students to get involve and receive first-hand exposure in cutting edge research.

“I am very excited to work on this proposed idea as it is interdisciplinary, and it crosses among several disciplines of research, including biomaterial, biomimetic, advanced manufacturing, chemical/biomedical engineering, nanotechnology, and biology,” said Dr. Dua. “The interdisciplinary nature of the studies proposed in this award will enhance the research training of our undergraduate students. It will create opportunities for them to pursue higher education and STEM careers in research such that HU continues its advancement as a robust research university.”

The award will support collaborative efforts in the surrounding community by providing opportunities to the high school students from The Governor’s School for Science and Technology to be involved in the research and leveraging the partnership with the Biomedical Engineering Department at Virginia Commonwealth University.

In 2019, Dr. Dua was awarded a Faculty Research award at Hampton University. He also became the Leading Emerging and Diverse Scientists to Success (LEADS) Scholar in Translational Research awarded by the Institute for Clinical Research Education, University of Pittsburg. He has published in numerous high-quality manuscripts in peer-reviewed scientific journals, authored book chapters, and has presented his research work in various national & international scientific conferences.

Dr. Dua has also won several international and national awards. He has been an active leader in promoting STEM fields and has chaired several sessions on scientific ethics at national conferences. Dr. Dua is a reviewer for many scientific journals and a member of many professional societies, including Sigma Xi, Virginia Academy of Science, Orthopedic Research Society, Biomedical Engineering Society, Tissue Engineering & Regenerative Medicine International Society. Recently, Dr. Dua was highlighted as the “Virginia Scientist in Spotlight” by the Virginia Academy of Science in their Spring issue of 2020.

Earning his doctoral degree in Biomedical Engineering in 2014 with a specialization in Tissue Engineering and Biomaterials from Florida International University located in Miami, FL., Dr. Dua worked for two years as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute of Orthopedic Research, and Education housed in Texas Medical Center (World’s largest Medical Center), located in Houston, TX. Before joining Hampton University in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the School of Science & Technology, Dr. Dua was working as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry at Hampden-Sydney College, where he taught and supervised undergraduates on clinically-translated research projects.