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E.I.R.S. Member Dr. Aydogan Ozcan is Named 2014 Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor

Earth’s International Research Society is proud to mention that society member Aydogan Ozcan has been named HHMI Professor by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute!

Ozcan Named 2014 Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor

By Bill Kisliuk | June 30, 2014

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

His previous honors include winning the National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 2010 and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) in 2011.

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.

“Exceptional teachers have a lasting impact on students,” said HHMI President Robert Tjian. “These scientists are at the top of their respective fields and they bring the same creativity and rigor to science education that they bring to their research.”

Headquartered in Chevy Chase, Md., HHMI seeks to transform science education in the United States by encouraging hands-on, research-oriented and interdisciplinary instruction. Over the years, the organization has awarded more than $935 million to 274 colleges and universities in the United States.

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.


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.

Earth’s International Research Society would like to introduce you to one of our members, Prof. Aydogan Ozcan, one of the world’s “Brilliant 10” scientists according to Popular Magazine in its October 2012 issue.

Aydogan Ozcan is Associate Professor, Electrical Engineering Department at UCLA and is the recipient of numerous awards including the 2011 SPIE Early Career Achievement Award, the 2011 Army Research Office (ARO) Young Investigator Award, the 2010 NSF CAREER Award, the 2009 NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, the 2009 Office of Naval Research (ONR) Young Investigator Award, the2009 IEEE Photonics Society (LEOS) Young Investigator Award, and the MIT’s Technology Review TR35 Award for his seminal contributions to near-field and on-chip imaging, and telemedicine based diagnostics.

Prof. Ozcan is also the recipient of the 2012 Popular Science Brilliant 10 Award, 2012 National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Grainger Foundation Frontiers of Engineering Award, 2010 National Geographic Emerging Explorer Award, the 2010 Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Grand Challenges Award, the 2010 Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award,  the 2011 Innovators Challenge Award presented by the Rockefeller Foundation and the mHealth Alliance, the 2010 Netexplorateur Award given by the Netexplorateur Observatory & Forum in France, the 2011 Regional Health Care Innovation Challenge Award given by The von Liebig Center at UCSD, the 2010 PopTech Science and Public Leaders Fellowship, the 2010 USC’s Body Computing Slam Prize, and the 2009 Wireless Innovation Awardorganized by the Vodafone Americas Foundation as well as the 2008 Okawa Foundation Award, given by the Okawa Foundation in Japan. Additionally, Dr. Ozcan holds 22 issued patents and another >15 pending patent applications for his inventions in nanoscopy, wide-field imaging, lensless imaging, nonlinear optics, fiber optics, and optical coherence tomography.

Aydogan Ozcan explains how his innovative research in imaging techniques has enabled the use of our cellphones as microscopes, a powerful and disruptive idea for bringing cost effective microscopy and micro-analysis to remote and developing countries.

Aydogan Ozcan is Associate Professor, Electrical Engineering Department at UCLA and is the recipient of numerous awards including NIH Director’s New Innovator Award 2009 and MIT’s TR35 Award 2009. His lab works on fundamentally new imaging architectures that can compensate for the lack of complexity of optical components by use of novel theories.

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Brilliant 10: Aydogan Ozcan Turns Smartphones into Medical Devices

Brilliant 10
Need a blood test? The phone in your pocket has enough power to do it!

Aydogan Ozcan Jeff Newton

Half a dozen palm-sized, plastic gadgets lie scattered across the desk in Aydogan Ozcan’s UCLA office. Each device is a different type of low-cost medical diagnostic tool. Several of them contain a lens-free microscope of Ozcan’s own invention. And all of them rely on the powers of thecellphone. “If you add up all the architecture at the back of a cellphone—electronics, optics, software, connectivity—it holds phenomenal promise for use as a platform,” he says.

Aydogan Ozcan
Age 34
University of California Los AngelesOzcan, an electrical engineer, grew up in Turkey, where he saw that advanced medicine sometimes didn’t reach the country’s rural areas. In many parts of the world, ailments are never even diagnosed. Ozcan’s medical devices could fix that. For example, a rural health-care worker could drop blood onto a slide and load it into Ozcan’s phone-mounted microscope. The phone’s camera captures an image of the sample which is then used to determine a diagnosis. Another of Ozcan’s devices reads the results of rapid diagnostic tests, and an app interprets them almost instantaneously.

The data won’t just be useful to individual patients. Ozcan has also developed a Google Maps interface to plot test results, which could be used to track the geographic spread of infectious diseases. “It will give us rich data that will allow us to understand things that we never have before,” he says.

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Photo by Joanne Leung