CORVALLIS - Two Oregon State University faculty members have received 1996 Faculty Early Career Development Grants from the National Science Foundation.

Only three such grants were made this year in the state of Oregon, and 346 nationally, out of 1,865 applicants.

These prestigious awards, in which the NSF invested $40 million in 1996, help promising scientists and engineers develop their contributions to research and education early in their careers. They are for four years or more and range from $200,000 to $500,000 each.

At OSU, the recipients were Lynda Ciuffetti, an assistant professor of botany and plant pathology, who is identifying the site of action in wheat of a toxin; and Wei Kong, an assistant professor of chemistry, who will do research on achieving selectivity in a chemical reaction process.

Ciuffetti, a molecular geneticist who studies plant parasitic fungi, received her doctorate from Purdue University in 1983 and has been at OSU since 1989. Kong received his doctorate from the University of Waterloo in Canada in 1993 and has been on the OSU faculty since 1995.

"At the best universities in the U.S., research and education go hand-in-hand," said acting deputy director Joseph Bordogna of the NSF. "Because of this unique integration, the U.S. educational system is envied worldwide. The NSF wants to keep it that way."

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George Chartier, 703-306-1070