Presidential Early Career Award

Professor Eugenio Culurciello. Photo Courtesy of Office of Naval Research.

This winter, Dr. Eugenio Culurciello, Yale Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering, was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award by the White House for his research on biomedical instrumentation. The award recognizes researchers early in their careers who contribute to developments at the forefront of their fields and gives them a one million dollar grant over five years. President Obama honored Culurciello and about seventy other recipients.

Culurciello explained that members of the Office of Naval Research nominated him for the award after working with him on two of his projects. The first project was the development of the patch-clamp amplifier, now commercially available. This device measures the electrical currents from ions in the cell membrane and assesses the communication of a cell with its environment. By using the device to monitor the responses of cells to high pressures, the Office of Naval Research simulated the response of a Navy Seal under extreme conditions. The second project involved a special camera that records brain activity in real time. The camera, which measures electrical activity and assists in drawing correlations between brain activity and human thoughts, particularly benefits those with disabilities.

Culurciello has also made headway in creating an electronic vision system, which can see nearly as well as a human. The technology is currently being tested on cars, with the goal of making autonomous vehicles. All three projects are breaking new scientific ground, and the grant from the Early Career Award will assist them in the development of these technologies.