Ng Wins NSF CAREER Award

Assistant Professor Sally Ng in lab

Nga Lee (Sally) Ng, an assistant professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, has won a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The CAREER Award is the NSF’s most prestigious award in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education, and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.

Ng’s research program focuses on the fundamental understanding of the formation mechanisms, chemical composition, and health effects of atmospheric aerosols. Secondary organic aerosols, produced from atmospheric reactions, make up a dominant fraction of fine particulate matter (PM) in the atmosphere and have substantial impacts on climate and human health.

Ng’s award, including $672,186 over five years, will provide support for her research on how nitrogen oxide emissions from cars react with ozone to transform naturally occurring emissions from trees into organic aerosols.

Specifically, she will focus on increasing scientific understanding of the formation, processing, and fate of organic nitrates created by the interaction of biogenic volatile organic compounds emitted from natural sources and nitrate radicals resulting from pollution. Experiments will be conducted in the Georgia Tech Environmental Chamber facility. Ambient measurements will also be conducted in Atlanta, where there are high natural and anthropogenic emissions.

“The results of our series of laboratory experiments and ambient measurements will lead to a better understanding of the formation of very small particles in the atmosphere that are relevant to air quality and climate,” Ng says.

In addition to funding innovative research, the NSF CAREER Award is also for educational outreach. To this end, Ng will develop an educational program on “Particulate Matter and Air Pollution” for middle school students.

In addition to the CAREER Award, Ng has also won the EPA Early Career Award (2013), Walter A. Rosenblith New Investigator Award from the Health Effects Institute (2013), Sheldon K. Friedlander Award from the American Association for Aerosol Research (2010), and the Atmospheric Chemistry Colloquium for Emerging Senior Scientists (2007).

Holding a PhD from the California Institute of Technology, Ng joined the faculty of Georgia Tech in 2011.