University News

University of New Haven Professor Wins Prestigious National Science Foundation Award

Chong Qiu, assistant professor of chemistry, earns National Science Foundation’s Early Career Award, joining recipients from Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, and NYU.

March 18, 2019

Chong Qiu, Ph.D.
Chong Qiu, Ph.D.

University of New Haven chemistry professor Chong Qiu, Ph.D., has been awarded a five-year, almost $700,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) Early Career Award for his groundbreaking research on aerosols – tiny particles suspended in the air – in the atmosphere. Qiu is the first University of New Haven faculty member to receive this National Science Foundation award.

Qiu will use the funding to advance his research that has the potential to shape understanding of the impact of air quality on climate change, weather forecasting, and human health.

"National Science Foundation Early Career Awards are coveted by the very best faculty at the very best universities," said Ron Harichandran, Ph.D., dean of the University’s Tagliatela College of Engineering, noting that Qiu’s fellow recipients of NSF’s early career award this year are professors at Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard and NYU. "This prestigious award is a great honor for Dr. Qiu and the University of New Haven."

Image of Chong Qiu, Ph.D. and students
Dr. Qiu has made it a priority to involve students in his research.

Qiu’s research is investigating chemicals, such as amines – nitrogen-containing organic compounds that are derived from ammonia – that Qiu said were previously thought not to have a significant impact on the atmosphere.

"We recently discovered that reactions of amines play an important role in the formation and transformation of atmospheric aerosols," Qiu said. "We need to understand how the presence of amines in the particle phase affect aerosol properties," Qiu said.

For the past two years, Qiu has worked with undergraduate and graduate students on this research. Members of his research team also have visited area high schools and middle schools to teach students how to collect micrometeorites from rainwater using tools designed from plumbing parts.

"We need to continue to encourage talented students to pursue STEM fields," Qiu said. "And I hope we can galvanize support for science and discovery." Chong Qiu, Ph.D.
Qiu’s research program will feature:
  • Three to four graduate students and three to eight undergraduate students and undergraduate interns
  • Guest lectures regarding atmospheric chemistry
  • Developing and building the project’s instrumentation. Collaborating with Joseph Levert, University of New Haven associate professor of mechanical engineering, Qiu created a five-year plan in which each year a team of engineering majors as part of their senior project will continue the development of the project’s instrumentation
  • A summer academy for high school students in the region
  • Development of a K-12 STEM pipeline, getting students of all levels participating in some aspect of the research

"We need to continue to encourage talented students to pursue STEM fields," Qiu said. "And I hope we can galvanize support for science and discovery."