Jiangtao Cheng, an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, has received a Diversity and Inclusion Seed Grant totaling $20,000 from the Virginia Tech Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science. 

The grant holds a twofold purpose: to provide resources for research, and to build direct research partnerships between Virginia Tech faculty and faculty at historically black colleges and universities or other underrepresented programs or minority institutions. Cheng will be working with Qiang Le, associate professor from Hampton University. 

The proposal, "Bioinspired Spider-Web-Like Sensing System for COVID-19 Virus Monitoring," aims to synthesize bionic spider-web-like fibers that capture dew droplets and actively analyze the chemical fingerprint spectrum of those analytes captured in the condensate droplets in real time. This development offers the possibility of quickly identifying airborne trace chemicals such as the COVID-19 virus through continuous monitoring of captured ambient analytes.