Hyongsok “Tom” Soh, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and of Materials in UC Santa Barbara’s College of Engineering, is one of only two recipients nationwide of a 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship in engineering. From a field of 3,000 applicants, a total 180 Fellowships were awarded this year in the United States and Canada to artists, scientists, and scholars "on the basis of achievement and exceptional promise.” 23 of those Fellowships were in the natural sciences category, which includes engineering.
Soh’s Guggenheim project is to combine two novel technologies—microfluidics and high-throughput sequencing—to significantly accelerate, and reduce the cost of, developing molecular recognition elements (reagents) that specifically bind to their targets. Such reagents are critical in modern biotechnology, but are expensive and require significant time to develop with current techniques. They are the key component in molecular diagnostics, which is the basis for “personalized medicine.”