Created in 2011, these awards recognize the remarkable contributions of postdoctoral research scholars to the UGA research enterprise. The UGA Research Foundation funds up to two awards a year to current scholars.
Hongmin Chen, a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Chemistry, is recognized for his contributions to the engineering of nanoparticles for imaging and therapy. Two projects are related to the synthesis and use of nanoparticles for imaging and cancer treatment. In one project, he succeeded in developing a novel in vivo cancer treatment, called X-ray induced photodynamic therapy, which enables nanoparticles to be guided directly to tumors and activated to kill cancer cells. In another, he developed a contrast agent that removes the toxic effects of gadolinium-based contrast probes widely used in clinical magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Chen developed a novel and straightforward methodology that encapsulates the Gd nanoparticles with carbon, rendering them biologically inert. Chen has published 14 peer-reviewed papers, almost all published in top-tier journals, and his work has attracted nationwide attention.