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UCSD Professors Earn Presidential Early Career Awards

The local winners were Dr. Brian Head and Dr. Quyen Nguyen at UC San Diego in La Jolla.

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.

Two UC San Diego assistant professors were among 102 recipients of Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers, the White House announced Monday.

The local winners were Dr. Brian Head, who is studying the role of the protein caveolin-1 for signaling and neuroprotection against stroke, traumatic brain injury and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's disease, and Dr. Quyen Nguyen, who specializes in head and neck surgery.

Nguyen was given a five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the use of molecular fluorescence imaging to guide surgeons in tumor surgery. The goal of the grant is to develop a system that allows surgeons to see the margin between tumor and normal tissue in real time during surgery.

The awards honor researchers who are near the beginning of their careers.

"The impressive achievements of these early-stage scientists and engineers are promising indicators of even greater successes ahead," President Barack Obama said in a statement. "We are grateful for their commitment to generating the scientific and technical advancements that will ensure America's global leadership for many years to come."

Head, who was formerly with the Veterans Administration health system in San Diego, was selected by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Nguyen was a pick of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Other recipients were selected in the fields of agriculture, defense, energy and education. They'll be honored in Washington, D.C., next year.

—City News Service

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