Biophotonics pioneer Ozcan named 2014 Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor

Aydogan Ozcan, Chancellor’s Professor of electrical engineering and bioengineering at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science (Los Angeles, CA), has been named a 2014 Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor, recognized for his breakthrough research and innovative approach to undergraduate education.

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Ozcan is one of 15 researchers from around the country named a 2014 HHMI Professor. Awardees receive a $1 million grant to be used over five years to pursue high-impact, interdisciplinary research and effectively integrate their work with creative approaches to undergraduate education.

Aydogan Ozcan
Aydogan Ozcan

Ozcan, who is also associate director of the California NanoSystems Institute, develops cost-effective and field-portable photonics tools for microscopy, sensing, and diagnosis. Devices invented in his lab—including lightweight smartphone attachments to detect the presence of mercury in water, malaria in blood cells, and allergens in food—are designed for point-of-care use and are adaptable to rural and resource-poor areas.

His previous honors include winning the National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 2010, the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) in 2011, and SPIE's Biophotonics Technology Innovator Award in 2013.

Using the HHMI grant, Ozcan intends to launch a program in which undergraduate researchers will form interdisciplinary teams annually to design, build, and test novel technologies for telemedicine and global health applications.

In addition to Ozcan, Tracy L. Johnson, Maria Rowena Ross Chair in Cell Biology and Biochemistry and associate professor in the Department of Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology, was named a 2014 Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor.

Johnson and Ozcan bring to five the number of UCLA professors who have been named HHMI professors since the program started in 2002.

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