Aydogan Ozcan, Chancellor's Professor of electrical engineering and bioengineering at UCLA (Los Angeles, CA), is one of 15 researchers from around the country to be named a 2014 Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Professor.
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-case use and are adaptable to rural and resource-poor areas. Such innovation will be the focus of a keynote address he will deliver at Strategies in Biophotonics (Sept. 9-11, 2014; Boston, MA), where he will also participate in a panel discussion on disruptive technologies and the future of photonics-based medicine, which will also include Gary Tearney, MD, Ph.D., Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School, and Xue Han, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Biomedical Engineering at Boston University.
In recognition of his breakthrough research and innovative approach to undergraduate education, Ozcan will 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. Ozcan intends to use the grant 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.
Ozcan serves as part of the RISE-UP program at the UCLA Center for Excellence in Engineering & Diversity, which is committed to the development, recruitment, retention, and graduation of underrepresented students. And every year, he serves as part of a summer high school program, hosting high school students in his lab to encourage more students to enter STEM fields and improve academic diversity.
Ozcan's previous honors include SPIE'S inaugural Biophotonics Technology Innovator Award in 2013, the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) in 2011, and the National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 2010.