Eric Tkaczyk Named Fulbright Fellow and Whitaker Scholar

Tkaczyk plans to put his degrees to work in Estonia, where he hopes to develop a portable and affordable cataract assessment technology.

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Eric Tkaczyk of the Center for Ultrafast Optical Science (CUOS) and the Michigan Nanotechnology Institute for Medicine and Biological Sciences (MNIMBS), has been awarded both a Fulbright Fellowship and a Whitaker Scholarship. After graduating with the M.D. and Ph.D. (Electrical Engineering) degrees in May 2010, he will use these awards in Estonia to develop a portable and affordable cataract assessment technology.

Eric was the first Electrical Engineering student to participate in the Medical Scientist Training Program. The goal of this MD/PhD Program is to to provide a superb and balanced training in science and medicine, and to train physician scientists primarily for careers in academic medicine with a focus on basic biomedical research.

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Dr. Tkaczyk conducted his research with Prof. Ted Norris, Director of CUOS, and with Dr. James Baker, Director of MNIMS. His research was in the area of multiphoton fluorescence, which is widely used for biomedical microscopy, in vivo sensing, and, with the use of a newly-developed in vivo flow cytometer developed by Tkaczyk and his U-M colleagues, for non-invasive blood measurements. His goal for this research is to further the understanding, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer and other biomedical applications.

He received a Best Student Paper Award at the Biomedical Optics Symposium (BiOS) of the Photonics West 2006 Conference for his research. The paper is available online. The BiOS Symposium is the premier annual international forum for discussions and announcements of technical/clinical and educational/pedagogical developments in the use of lasers, optical fibers, spectroscopic diagnostic techniques and related areas of optical medicine. More recently, he received first prize in the Student Paper Competition at the 2007 4th IEEE International Summer School and Symposium on Medical Devices and Biosensors in Cambridge, England.

In addition to his PhD and MD, Dr. Tkaczyk received the Rackham Nanoscience and Technology Certificate of Graduate Studies. He is a member of many professional organizations, and serves as officer in several. He also is an accomplished dancer, reaching the finalist level at the National Collegiate Dancesport Championships.

Dr. Tkaczyk stated that he is honored to be able to develop an affordable technology in Estonia to assist those who are loosing their eyesight.

About the Awards

The Fulbright Program is one of the most widely recognized and prestigious international exchange program in the world. It is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.

The Whitaker Scholarship, another highly prestigious fellowship, enables individuals to conduct postdoctoral work in the area of biomedical engineering. The scholars will ideally advance an emerging biomedical engineering career, while also advancing the goal of increased international collaboration in BME.

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