Three scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland have won research grants of at least $500,000 a year for five years as part of the Department of Energy's new Early Career Research Program.
Uljana Mayer, William Gus-tafson and Wendy Shaw were among the 69 scientists picked for the awards from 1,750 applications from universities and national labs nationwide.
"Strong support of scientists in the early career years is crucial to renewing America's scientific work force and ensuring U.S. leadership in discovery and innovation for many years to come," Secretary of Energy Steven Chu said in a statement Thursday.
The research grants come from American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus money.
Winners were required to have received a Ph.D. within the past 10 years on the theory that many scientists do their most formative work in their early career years.
Mayer's project is "Targeted Imaging Probes for Systems Biology" for the DOE Office of Biological and Environmental Research.
She is developing tools to help scientists study how proteins work together inside live cells. Most existing tools work best on dead cells, but Mayer has worked on a molecular tool that can be used inside a cell without interfering with the work of the cell's proteins.
Gustafson's project is "Reducing Scale Dependence of Physics Parameterization for Global Cloud Resolving Climate Models" for the DOE Office of Biological and Environmental Research.
He is working to improve how climate models simulate clouds, which has tended to be an area of climate models that could be better.
Shaw's project is "Catalyst Biomimics: A Novel Approach in Catalyst Design" for the DOE Office of Basic Energy Sciences. She is working to develop catalysts that have designs based on those found in nature.