ENG’s Hatice Altug Receives White House Honor
One of Popular Science’s “Brilliant 10”| From Commonwealth | By Art Jahnke
Hatice Altug’s biosensor can quickly identify dangerous viruses such as Ebola and Marburg in resource-limited settings. Photo by Vernon Doucette
Hatice Altug, who led the development of a biosensor that uses tiny crystals to manipulate light to detect a virus, a protein, or a cancer cell in a drop of blood, was among a select group of scientists and engineers honored by President Obama last October at the White House.
The College of Engineering assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and of materials science and engineering and 93 others received the 2011 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the United States government’s highest honor for science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. In addition to being invited to the White House ceremony, awardees receive a research grant lasting up to five years.
Altug, who is part of a team of BU researchers awarded $4.8 million by the National Institutes of Health to advance the technology, was also named last fall one of Popular Science’s “Brilliant 10,” a group of researchers under 40 who made transformational contributions to their fields during 2010.
Altug’s biosensor can quickly identify dangerous viruses such as Ebola and Marburg in resource-limited settings, which has profound implications for containing pandemics, as well as for assessing terrorist threats in places like airports. The device is expected to have an immediate impact in Africa, where there are limited laboratory resources and a wide range of viral infections.