DKU professors win funding from the National Natural Science Foundation of China | Duke Kunshan University

DKU professors win funding from the National Natural Science Foundation of China

January 26, 2021

From left, Duke Kunshan faculty members Jingbo Cui, Myung-Joong Hwang and Shixin Xu

Three Duke Kunshan scholars have received funding awards from the prestigious National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) to support cutting-edge research into the fields of carbon emissions management, quantum systems, and neuroscience.

Jingbo Cui, associate professor of applied economics

The NSFC has awarded Cui RMB 500,000 (US$77,200) to research climate change and carbon emissions management.

Against a backdrop of accelerating global reductions in carbon emissions, China launched its national carbon trading system in 2017. The country’s policies on carbon emissions have had far-reaching impacts in multiple fields including industry, the environment, energy and technology.

He plans to analyze and assess the impact of carbon market policies on China’s economy through econometric tools and causal inference, and gain insight into the spatial and temporal trends of this impact. Through this research, he hopes to unravel a new green low-carbon economic model and the driving forces behind it.

Cui’s areas of expertise include energy economics, environmental economics and the economics of innovation. He has previously explored innovation dynamics behind the rapid growth of patent applications in China and the impact of environmental management on China’s economy.

He has a Ph.D. in economics from Iowa State University, a M.Sc. in economics from Wuhan University, and a B.Sc. in economics and mathematics from Huazhong University of Science and Technology.

Myung-Joong Hwang, an assistant professor of physics

Hwang has received RMB 390,000 (US$60,200) from the NSFC for research into quantum systems.

It is a common understanding among statistical physics researchers that phase transitions occur only within the thermodynamic limits of many particles, making it difficult to perform quantum simulations of new phases of matter by increasing quantum bits in a quantum device.

Hwang hopes to break this notion with his project to identify and understand a range of key phenomena that may occur in some quantum systems beyond the thermodynamic limits of particles. He believes that his findings could help researchers discover a fresh path to perform quantum simulations of new phases of matter using current equipment, without expanding the quantum system.

Hwang is interested in understanding quantum phenomena in engineered quantum systems and developing ways to make them useful for quantum technologies. The physical systems he focuses on include ion traps, superconducting quantum circuits and defects in solids.

His research interests are at the interface of quantum information science, quantum optics, and condensed matter physics. He has a B.Sc. and Ph.D. in physics from Pohang University of Science and Technology, Korea.

Shixin Xu, assistant professor of mathematics

Brain diseases are a major health challenge in China and globally. Many of these diseases are closely related to signaling in neural tissues. The study of signaling processes involves multiscale, multi-physical, and multi-area interaction of ions, fluids and membrane potentials across millions of cells, and is at the intersection of life sciences, clinical medicine, applied mathematics and high-performance computational mathematics.

With research funding of RMB 510,000 (US$78,750) from the NSFC, Xu plans to combine energy variational and homogenization methods to construct a thermodynamically consistent model of ion transport in tissues such as smooth muscle and optic nerve, which is expected to provide theoretical support for future research in areas such as brain neuroscience and propagation inhibition.

Xu’s research interests include mathematical modeling for complex fluid in biology and physics, energy variation method, and fluid-structure interaction. He has a B.Sc. in mathematics from Ocean University and a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Science and Technology, both in China.