Jia-Ming Liu, professor of electrical engineering at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, has been chosen to receive a prestigious 2006 Guggenheim Fellowship, among the most coveted honors accorded to scholars, artists and writers.

The Fellowship, awarded by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, is conferred for “unusually distinguished achievement and exceptional promise for future accomplishment.” Fellowship winners are selected by a committee of scholars from universities and institutes across the U.S. and Canada.

Liu will use his Guggenheim Fellowship to conduct research on three-dimensional intracellular laser nanoscopy – using lasers to see structures inside a cell with a resolution on the scale of only nanometers. Liu’s work ultimately will allow biologists and medical doctors to determine the precise location of various molecular cell components made of genes and their products in the subcellular domain – and to obtain a greater understanding of cell function in health and disease.

Liu’s past research focuses on ultrafast optics and electronics, optoelectronics and semiconductor lasers, nonlinear optics, and optical-wave propagation. He has published extensively in these areas and holds several patents in lasers and optoelectronics. He is internationally recognized as a leading expert in ultrafast lasers and nonlinear laser dynamics.

The professor joined UCLA Engineering in 1986. He is a Fellow of the Optical Society of America, a Senior Member of the IEEE Laser and Electro-Optics Society, and a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

Only two Guggenheim Fellowships were presented to engineers this year, one to UCLA’s Liu and the other to M.I.T. The 2006 winners include 187 artists, scholars, and scientists selected from nearly 3,000 applicants for awards totaling $7.5 million.

Since 1925, the Guggenheim Foundation has granted about $247 million in fellowships to more than 16,000 individuals. Recipients have included writers, playwrights, painters, sculptors, photographers, filmmakers, choreographers, physical and biological scientists, social scientists, and scholars in the humanities.