HCI investigator Nicola Camp, PhD, has received a Presidential Early-Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. The award is given to science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. According to a White House press release, "The Presidential early career awards embody the high priority the Obama Administration places on producing outstanding scientists and engineers to advance the Nation's goals, tackle grand challenges, and contribute to the American economy."
Camp says she is "beaming from ear to ear. To be recognized by your peers about something that has the potential to make a difference—it's just a great feeling."
Camp is a professor in the Division of Genetic Epidemiology, Department of Biomedical Informatics at the University of Utah and a member of the Cancer Control and Population Sciences Program. Her research focuses on identifying genes involved in the predisposition and risk modification for or survivorship of common cancers such as prostate cancer, multiple myeloma, breast cancer, colon cancer, and chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
Originally trained as a mathematician and statistician, Camp uses those skills to develop methods of analyzing genome data. To be recognized for this type of work is huge, says Camp, because it's an area that often doesn't receive as much attention as laboratory and clinical research.
"Translating our understanding of disease mechanisms into something we can put into clinical practice is not going to happen unless we have the most state-of-the-art methods to actually do that analysis," Camp explains. "So it's nice to have acknowledgment for that particular part of the field. I think people are realizing how important it is."
Camp and the other recipients accepted their awards in Washington, D.C., in October 2011.