Aydogan Ozcan, associate professor of electrical engineering and bioengineering, has received the country’s highest honor for science and engineering researchers who are at an early stage of their careers.

Ozcan was one of 94 researchers announced by President Obama on Monday, as recipients of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE).

Ozcan’s research is in photonics and its applications in nano- and bio-technology. Most prominently, he has developed new powerful optical imaging and sensing architectures that can be incorporated into mobile phones. Essentially becoming mobile labs, these phones can analyze fluids to test for HIV, malaria, and other infectious diseases in body fluids, or analyze water quality following a disaster. These devices, which are relatively inexpensive to produce, have broad applications for improving health care in resource-poor regions.

I’m very honored to receive the PECASE award,” Ozcan said. “This will support our existing efforts to create smart global health systems through innovative uses of photonics and computational technologies.

Ozcan’s research in photonics applications, in particular his work with mobile phone platforms, holds great potential, and he is a truly deserving recipient of this honor,” said UCLA Engineering Dean Vijay K. Dhir. “This award also reflects the excellence of the school’s faculty, who are committed to conducting research that addresses the critical needs of the country across many areas.”

Ozcan has already received several prominent honors for his research, including the National Science Foundation CAREER Award; the National Geographic Emerging Explorer Award; the National Institutes of Health Director’s New Innovator Award; Young Investigator Awards from the Office of Naval Research and from the Army Research Office; MIT’s TR35 Award, IEEE Photonics Society and SPIE Young Investigator Awards, and a Grand Challenges Explorations Award from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The PECASE award recipients are nominated by 16 federal department and agencies. The recipients’ early accomplishments demonstrate the greatest promise in continuing America’s preeminence in science and engineering. Ozcan’s nomination was from the Department of Defense.

Two other UCLA faculty members also received the PECASE award: Joseph Teran, an associate professor of mathematics, and Xiangfeng Duan, an assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry. Read more in the UCLA news release.

Ozcan is also a member of the California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI).

To find out more on Professor Ozcan’s research, visit his laboratory page.

To read more about the 2011 PECASE Awards, visit the White House announcement page.