Kwabena Bediako among recipients of Air Force award granted to 40 scientists and engineers through young investigator research program

October 16, 2019

Kwabena Bediako

ARLINGTON,VIRGINIA – The Air Force Office of Scientific Research — the basic research component of the Air Force Research Laboratory — today announced it will award approximately $17.8 million in grants to 40 scientists and engineers from 30 research institutions and businesses who submitted winning research proposals through the Air Force's Young Investigator Research Program (YIP).

Five of the 40 YIPs were awarded to Defense Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (DEPSCoR) institutions, and three were funded by the Office of Under Secretary of Defense (OSD) Basic Research Office. The remaining 37 were funded by AFOSR.

The YIP is open to United States citizens and/or permanent residents' who are scientists and engineers at United States research institutions who received Ph.D. or equivalent degrees in the last seven years showing exceptional ability and promise for conducting basic research of military interests.

The objective of this program is to foster creative basic research in science and engineering, enhance early career development of outstanding young investigators, and increase opportunities for the young investigators to recognize the Air Force mission and the related challenges in science and engineering.

This year, AFOSR received over 220 proposals in response to the AF YIP funding opportunity announcement (FOA) solicitation, FOA-AFRL-AFOSR-2019-0003. Forty YIPs were awarded in these research areas: Aerospace Materials for Extreme Environments, Agile Science for Test and Evaluation, Atomic and Molecular Physics, Biophysics, Complex Networks, Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience, Computational Mathematics, Dynamic Data Driven Applications Systems, Dynamics Materials and Interactions, Dynamics and Control, Electromagnetics, Energy Combustion and Non-Equilibrium Thermodynamics, GHz-THz Electronics and Materials, High Speed Aerodynamics, Human Performance and Biosystems, Laser and Optical Physics, Low Density Materials, Mechanics of Multifunctional Materials and Microsystems, Molecular Dynamics and Theoretical Chemistry, Multi-Scale Structural Mechanics and Prognosis, Natural Materials and Systems, Optimization and Discrete Mathematics, Optoelectronics and Physics, Organic Materials Chemistry, Quantum Electronic Solids, Quantum Information Sciences, Science of Information, Computation and Fusion, Space Power and Propulsion, Space Science, Trust and Influence, Ultrashort Pulse Laser-Matter Interactions, and Unsteady Aerodynamics and Turbulence Flows.

YIP recipients receive a three year grant totaling $450,000.

The following YIP recipients and their anticipated research areas are:

  • Dr. Fatemah Afghah, Northern Arizona University, Dynamic Data Driven Decision Making, Planning, and Communications in Autonomous Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Networks for Disaster Management
  • Dr. Elaheh Ahmadi, University of Michigan, Investigation of Electron Transport in B-(AI, Ga)203 Thin Films and Heterostructures Under Applied High Pressures
  • Dr. Monica Allen, University of California San Diego, Direct Visualization of Topological Superconducting States in GHz Regime
  • Dr. Kwabena Bediako, University of California Berkeley, Controlling Two-dimensional Spin Textures in Van der Waals Superlattices
  • Dr. Ryan Berke, Utah State University, High-Throughput Characterization of High Cycle Fatigue for Extreme Temperature Aerospace Applications
  • Dr. J. Boley, Boston University, 4D Printing Materials with Programmed Responsiveness and Stiffness for Multifunctional Adaptive Architectures
  • Dr. Katrina Bossert, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Terrestrial Influences on Space Weather due to Gravity Waves in the Arctic
  • Dr. Laura Bradley, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Processing Particle Assemblies into Functional Thin Films: Elucidating Mechanisms of Defect Formation
  • Dr. David Burghoff, University of Notre Dame, Microresonator Solitons in Quantum Cascade Lasers
  • Dr. Xudong Chen, University of Colorado Boulder, Foundations of Ensemble Estimation Theory
  • Dr. Christopher Combs, University of Texas San Antonio, Investigation of the effects of ablation-induced distributed roughness on shock-wave/boundary-layer
  • Dr. Ryan Comes, Auburn University, Metastable Oxides for High-Mobility and Spin-Orbit 2D Electronics
  • Dr. Zachary Cordero, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Shock Propagation through Architectured PrintCast Composites
  • Dr. Scott Cushing, California Institute of Technology, Ultrafast Ionic Hopping, Electron, and Phonon Correlations in Solid State Electrolytes
  • Dr. Mohammad Faghfoor Maghrebi, Michigan State University, Driven-dissipative architectures: New routes to Quantum Phases and Technologies
  • Dr. Mona Ghassemi, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Characterization, Multiphysics Modeling and Mitigation of Insulation Material Degradation and Breakdown
  • Dr. Hamed Hassani, University of Pennsylvania, Data Acquisition in Dynamic Environments: A Submodular Perspective
  • Dr. Benjamin Keitz, University of Texas at Austin, Microbial Patterning of Soft Materials
  • Dr. Justin Little, University of Washington, Rapid Optimization of Non-Equilibrium Plasmas using New Breakthroughs in Data Science
  • Dr. Alireza Marandi, California Institute of Technology, Simulton Frequency Combs: Quadratic Solitons for Generation of Few-Cycle Pulses in the Mid- and Long-Wave Infrared
  • Dr. Panagiotis Markopoulos, Rochester Institute of Technology, Theory and Efficient Algorithms for Dynamic and Robust L1-norm Analysis of Tensor Data
  • Dr. Kathryn Matlack, University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, Controlling Damage Mechanisms in Metamaterial Composites with Multiscale Interfaces
  • Dr. Jean-Michel Mongeau, Pennsylvania State University- University Park, Flying in an Uncertain World: Decoding Rules of Adaptive Neural Control in Insect Flight
  • Dr. Galan Moody, University of California Santa Barbara, Heterogeneous III-V/Silicon Photonics for All-on-Chip Linear Optical Quantum Computing
  • Dr. Scott Niekum, University of Texas at Austin, Robot Learning from Demonstration with Auxiliary Contextual Data
  • Dr. Pedro Paredes Gonzalez, National Institute of Aerospace, Novel Concepts for Transition Delay in Hypersonic Boundary Layers and their Optimization
  • Dr. Fabio Pasqualetti, University of California Riverside, Data-Driven Control of Dynamical Networks: Fundamental Limitations, Algorithms, and Robustness Guarantees
  • Dr. Paris Perdikaris, University of Pennsylvania, Self-supervised Learning for Rapid Forecasting, Generalization, and Judicious Decision-making in Dynamic and Stochastic Environments.
  • Dr. Megan Peters, University of California Riverside, Neural Computations and Information Flow Underlying Uncertainty Evaluation
  • Dr. Jinglei Ping, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Multiscale Electrical Mapping of Biosystems
  • Dr. Jedediah Pixley, Rutgers University, Emulating Twistronics and Beyond with Ultra-Cold Atoms
  • Dr. Brenda Rubenstein, Brown University, Stochastic Methods for Carbon Dioxide Catalysis
  • Dr. Maryam Shakiba, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, High-Temperature Polymer Matrix Composites Design through Sensitivity Analyses of Microstructures
  • Dr. Constantine Sideris, University of Southern California, Modeling and Inverse Design of Ultra-compact, Dynamically Programmable and Switchable Photonic Integrated Circuits
  • Dr. Takashi Tanaka, University of Texas at Austin, Information-geometric Path Planning
  • Dr. Aaron Towne, University of Michigan, Resolvent-based Estimation for Control of Turbulent Aerodynamic Flows
  • Dr. Alexandria Walsh, Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station, Optical Modulation of Cell Redox State
  • Dr. Meng Wang, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Cyber-resilient High-dimensional Data Analytics with Analytical Guarantees
  • Dr. Thomas Williams, Colorado School of the Mines, Calibrated Norm Violation Response in Human-Machine Teaming
  • Dr. Liuyan Zhao, University of Michigan, Realizing and Controlling Unconventional Magnetic Excitations in Non-Bravais Magnets

For additional information on AF YIP, send correspondence to Ellen M. Robinson at:

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The Air Force Office of Scientific Research's mission is to support Air Force goals of control and maximum utilization of air, space, and cyberspace. AFOSR accomplishes its mission by investing in basic research efforts for the Air Force in relevant scientific areas. Central to AFOSR's strategy is the transfer of the fruits of basic research to industry, the supplier of Air Force acquisitions; to the academic community which can lead the way to still more accomplishment; and to the other directorates of AFRL that carry the responsibility for applied and development research leading to acquisition.

For more information on AFRL/AFOSR visit:

About Kwabena Bediako

To learn more about Professor Kwabena Bediako's research, visit his faculty webpage.