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The National Science Foundation has awarded Penn up to $24 million to create a Science and Technology Center.

The grant, which will be distributed over the course of five years, is part of the National Science Foundation’s $94 million project to build four new Science and Technology Centers across the country, joining the eight that already exist. According to a press release from the National Science Foundation, Penn’s STC will partner with Washington University in St. Louis, the University of Maryland, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Bryn Mawr College, Alabama State University and Boston University.

Penn’s STC will specialize in engineering mechanobiology, which is “a field that focuses on how forces influence plant and animal systems” according to the National Science Foundation. The center will look to engage students in the budding field of mechanobiology while uniting researchers in the field.

Two Penn professors will serve as co-directors, including Dr. Yale E. Goldman of the Perelman School of Medicine and of the School of Engineering and Applied Science, and Dr. Vivek Shenoy, also of Penn Engineering.

“We are at a crucial juncture in the biological sciences,” Goldman said in a Penn Med press release. “We’re now just starting to understand how the force-sensing and mechanical outputs of cells pervade development, maintenance of health and pathology of plants and animals, but we’re still doing this kind of research in isolated groups with limited interactions and separate goals.”

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