Hang Lu, 28
Designing microfluidic chips to study cells
Georgia Institute of Technology
Hang Lu has a flair for adapting to new environments. At 16, she moved from China to Colorado, where she excelled academically. As a postdoc, she applied her expertise in building bioMEMs -- tiny devices that manipulate cells and microorganisms -- to devising innovative experiments in neurobiology. Lu has designed minute mazes to test how microscopic worms learn using smell, and she constructed microscale gas gradients to help identify the sensory pathways that the worms use to detect oxygen levels. Now an assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, Lu hopes her continued worm work will yield clues to the workings of the human brain.