Vietnamese Talents
Vietnamese-American professor receives US President's award
  • | | December 22, 2009 02:04 PM

Thao (Vicky) Nguyen, 32, assistant professor of mechanical engineering in the Whiting School of Engineering at The Johns Hopkins University, are among the 100 winners of this year's Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE).

Nguyen's research focuses primarily on tissue mechanics, shape memory polymers and the fracture mechanics of polymers. She is developing mathematical and computational methods to help understand and predict the mechanical behavior of soft materials.

Her work has potential medical, aerospace and security applications. One of her projects, in collaboration with the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins, involves studying how the mechanical behavior of the eye's cornea and sclera transmits mechanical stress to the optical nerve. The research could lead to better treatments for glaucoma.

Nguyen's family moved from Vietnam to Los Angeles in 1986. She earned an undergraduate degree at MIT, and then received her master's and doctoral degrees in mechanical engineering from Stanford University. She worked for several years as a research scientist at Sandia National Laboratories before joining the Johns Hopkins faculty in October 2007.

PECASE award winners are selected by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the award represents the nation's highest honor for scientists at the outset of their professional careers. Awardees will be honored by President Obama at a White House Ceremony this fall.

The White House announcement, July 10, included a statement by President Obama noting that "these extraordinarily gifted young scientists and engineers represent the best in our country. With their talent, creativity and dedication, I am confident they will lead their fields in new breakthroughs and discoveries and help us use science and technology to lift up our nation and our world."

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