Justus Ndukaife receives 2023 Kaminow Outstanding Early Career Professional Prize

Justus Ndukaife, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, has been awarded the 2023 Kaminow Outstanding Early Career Professional Prize for his commitment to teaching, mentoring, and community service.

Justus Ndukaife

At Vanderbilt, Ndukaife’s research includes the study of optically-resonant nanostructures, with an aim to confine and manipulate light at a deeply sub-wavelength scale. He maintains his dedication to outreach by creating activities that provide local and international students with hands-on experiences in optical trapping using lasers.

“I’m grateful to receive this award,” says Ndukaife. “I try to equip all students with the tools they need to be successful, and I plan to use this platform to continue to do that.”

In 2018 and 2020, Ndukaife was honored with a Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Award that allowed him to promote education and outreach initiatives in African nations, focusing on nanoscale optics and mentoring students at the University of Nigeria.

As an executive committee member of the Optica Optical Trapping in Biology Technical Group, Ndukaife coordinated webinars to offer students and researchers globally valuable insights into the latest developments in optical trapping.

In July, Ndukaife received a $1.9 million Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences to back his project to expand the fundamental understanding of nanoscale sub-cellular particles.

The prize honors Ivan Kaminow for his many contributions to the field of optics and photonics, as well as his dedication to mentoring and inspiring early career researchers. Every year, one emerging leader is selected worldwide to receive this prize and the recipient receives $2,000 and an invitation to attend and be recognized at the Frontier in Optics meeting.


Contact: Lucas Johnson, lucas.l.johnson@vanderbilt.edu