• June 16, 2021
 UTEP Faculty Member honored with DOE Early Career Research Award

“I feel privileged and thrilled to have received this award,” Xu said. “With the support of DOE, I can fully focus on understanding complex metal-sulfide systems in nature using a bottom-up approach.” | Photos courtesy UTEP

UTEP Faculty Member honored with DOE Early Career Research Award

Jie Xu, Ph.D., assistant professor of earth, environmental and resource sciences at The University of Texas at El Paso, is one of 83 U.S. scientists selected by the Department of Energy Office of Science to advance biological and environmental discovery with mission-critical research through the Early Career Research Program (ECRP).

“We are very excited that the DOE has selected Dr. Xu for this highly competitive national award. Even the best and brightest need funding support, especially early on in their career, to develop their most innovate research projects,” said Robert Kirken, Ph.D., dean of UTEP’s College of Science.

“With five years of research funding pledged by the DOE, I am confident that Dr. Xu will make significant and important contributions to better understanding geochemical environments that will also yield exciting applications to real world challenges and problems.”

The ECRP, which is in its 12th year, is designed to support top researchers from national laboratories and universities throughout the country with significant funding — $150,000 annually — during the most formative years of their careers to help bolster a skilled science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workforce.

Throughout the life of the program, an average of 40 university and 22 national laboratory awards have been initiated each year.

Xu was recognized for her research that addresses the existing gap between the understanding of the structure, bonding, and speciation in transition metal (TM) sulfide species. She aims to reveal the underlying reaction mechanisms of TM-sulfide systems and to connect their interactions with the electronic states observed in TMs under various conditions.

Xu’s findings will be critical for understanding the evolution of geochemical environments with no oxygen and a raised level of free hydrogen sulfide, and develop relevant strategies in resource recovery and environmental remediation.

“I feel privileged and thrilled to have received this award,” Xu said. “With the support of DOE, I can fully focus on understanding complex metal-sulfide systems in nature using a bottom-up approach.”

Awardees represent universities and DOE national labs in 32 states. They were selected based on peer review by scientific experts and.

“Maintaining our nation’s brain trust of world-class scientists and researchers is one of DOE’s top priorities — and that means we need to give them the resources they need to succeed early on in their careers,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm.

“These awardees show exceptional potential to help us tackle America’s toughest challenges and secure our economic competitiveness for decades to come.”

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