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CAREER Award will Fund Research into Arthritis Cause

April 26, 2023
Professor Roberto Andresen Eguiluz has earned a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation.

Professor Roberto Andresen Eguiluz has received a CAREER award for his research into the underlying cause of arthritis.

He is the 33rd researcher from UC Merced to earn a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

CAREER awards are among the NSF's most prestigious awards. They are given through the Faculty Early Career Development Program to recognize untenured faculty members as teacher-scholars. Early-career faculty members are selected based on three factors: the strength of their research proposals; their potential to serve as academic role models in research and education; and their leadership in their field and organizations.

Andresen Eguiluz will receive $523,000 over the next five years for the project "Mechanobiology of Load-Bearing Biological Interfaces." He and his team will focus on researching the lubricating fluid film that coats the cartilage surface, reducing friction and damage that can lead to arthritis.

Andresen Eguiluz has been with UC Merced since July 2019. He is affiliated with the Materials and Biomaterials Science and Engineering, Quantitative and Systems Biology, Bioengineering, and Mechanical Engineering graduate groups, as well as with the Health Sciences Research Institute.

"This is a well-deserved award for Professor Andresen Eguiluz," said Professor Valerie Leppert, chair of the Materials Science and Engineering department at UC Merced. "His work exemplifies the value of interdisciplinary research in understanding and solving important problems, and he is an excellent teacher and mentor for our students. We are very proud to have him as a member of our department."

Each CAREER award proposal includes an educational outreach component. In this case, the research combines several disciplines, including biophysics, polymer physics, surface chemistry, biology and tribology. The award supports the inclusion and training of underrepresented groups in biomaterials and mechanobiology-relevant research.

Andresen Eguiluz was honored to learn about the CAREER award.

"This award is a validation that the ideas I am proposing are worth exploring, motivates me to continue pursuing this line of research, and allows me to continue mentoring the astounding students we have here at UC Merced on this fascinating field," he said.