November 8, 2022

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has selected Nazanin Bassiri-Gharb, the Harris Saunders Jr. Chair and Professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering (with a courtesy appointment with the School of Materials Science and Engineering), to serve as program director in its Division of Materials Research (DMR) within the Directorate for the Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS).

During her appointment, which began on Sept. 26, Bassiri-Gharb will oversee the Ceramics program within the division. As a program manager, she will be in charge of the merit review process for the Ceramics program, and support fundamental research in ceramics – e.g., carbides, oxides, nitrides, and borides, glass-ceramics, inorganic glasses, ceramic-based composites, and inorganic carbon-based materials – and set new directions for the development of new ceramic materials.

“I am honored and excited to serve the community in this new role at NSF. NSF has been one of the major funding sources for my own research, and I know first-hand the foundational role it has in supporting young investigators and initiating their careers,” said Bassiri-Gharb.

The NSF's mission is to promote the progress of science and advance the health, prosperity, and welfare of the Nation. The DMR invests in the discovery, prediction, and design of new advanced materials and their related properties, as well as in the development of the next generation of materials scientists, which includes increasing the pathways for participation by underrepresented minorities. The development and deployment of advanced materials are major drivers of U.S. economic growth.

“NSF and DMR programs, specifically, offer a unique opportunity to broaden participation in materials science and engineering, and are well known for their inclusive excellence,” added Bassiri-Gharb.

Bassiri-Gharb joined the Georgia Tech faculty in 2007. Her research interests are in functional materials and most prominently ferroelectric, antiferroelectric, piezoelectric, and electro-chemo-mechanically active materials for applications to sensors, actuators, and transducers; and machine learning approaches for interpretation of the physical phenomena at the nanoscale, as probed by scanning probe microscopy-based techniques. She has published over 75 peer-reviewed manuscripts and presented over 50 plenary, keynote, and invited talks on these topics. She was a senior research R&D engineer at QUALCOMM MEMS Research and Innovation Center in Silicon Valley, prior to joining Georgia Tech. In 2014 she held a joint-faculty appointment at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory with the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences. 

At Georgia Tech, Bassiri-Gharb has chaired the Micro and Nano Engineering research area group in the Woodruff School, serves on the Advisory Board of the Materials Characterization Facility, and has been the Chair of the Institute’s Faculty Status and Grievance Committee from 2020 to 2022. She is currently a member of the Technical Advisory Board of Frore Systems (a Silicon Valley start-up) and the President of the IEEE Council on Radio Frequency Identification (2021-2023). She has also served as the President of the IEEE Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control Society, IEEE UFFC-S (2018-2019). She is a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, an ELATES (Executive Leadership in Academic Technology, Engineering, and Science) Fellow, 2020-2022, and a past recipient of the IEEE UFFC-S Ferroelectrics Young Investigator Award and National Science Foundation CAREER award.