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Three outstanding UCLA scientists win Presidential Early Career Awards

Three exceptional young UCLA scientists have been honored with Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers by President Barack Obama. The faculty members are among 94 individuals to receive this year's awards, the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their research careers.
Sixteen federal departments and agencies join together annually to nominate scientists and engineers whose early accomplishments show the greatest promise for assuring America's preeminence in science and engineering.
"It is inspiring to see the innovative work being done by these scientists and engineers as they ramp up their careers — careers that I know will be not only personally rewarding but also invaluable to the nation," President Obama said in announcing the awards.
This year's UCLA recipients are:
Duan, an assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, studies nano-scale materials and devices and their applications for future electronics, energy science and biomedical science. In particular, he focuses on the rational design and synthesis of highly complex inorganic nanostructures with precisely controlled chemical compositions, physical morphologies and dimensions.
Earlier this year, Duan was ranked No. 41 among the world's top 100 chemists — and No. 20 among the top 100 materials scientists — of the past decade by Thomson Reuters, which rates scientists based on the impact of their published research. He earned his doctorate from Harvard University in 2002 and joined UCLA's faculty in 2008. For more information on Duan's research, visit his group's website.
Ozcan is an associate professor of electrical engineering and bioengineering whose innovative research in photonics, and its applications in nanotechnology and biotechnology, is aimed at creating smart global health systems. He has developed new and powerful optical imaging and sensing architectures that can be incorporated into mobile phones, which can then be used to test bodily fluid samples for HIV, malaria and other infectious diseases and to analyze water quality following disasters. These devices, which are relatively inexpensive to produce, have broad applications for improving health care in resource-poor regions of the globe.
Ozcan, who joined UCLA's faculty in 2007, has received several distinguished honors for his research, including the National Science Foundation CAREER Award, the National Geographic Emerging Explorer Award and the National Institutes of Health Director's New Innovator Award. He is also a member of the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA. For more on Ozcan's research, visit his laboratory's website.
Teran is an associate professor of mathematics whose research interests include computational biomechanics and virtual surgery. Teran is using mathematics — including computational geometry, partial differential equations and many-core computing — to enable surgeons to practice on a 3-D "digital double" of a patient before performing an actual surgery. "Surgical simulation is coming, there is no question about it," he has said. "It's a cheaper alternative to cadavers and a safer alternative to patients." Teran's applied mathematics can also be used to design more durable bridges, freeways, cars and aircraft.
Teran was named one of the 50 "Best Brains in Science" in the December 2008 issue of Discover magazine, which lauded him and the other scientists selected as "young visionaries who are transforming the way we understand the world." For more information on Teran's research, visit his website.
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