Bioengineer Todd Coleman, from the University of California, San Diego, has been named one of 100 outstanding individuals for 2015 by The Root, a premier news, opinion and culture site for African-American influencers.
Other names on the list include tennis player Serena Williams, ballerina Misty Copeland and hip-hop artist Kendrick Lamar.
"Some of us are bright, maybe even gifted," the website wrote about Coleman. "Then there are those touched by a rare, down-to-earth genius. Bioengineering professor Coleman falls into the latter category."
Coleman's research brings together electronics for medical use, machine learning and public health. His research group develops multi-functional, flexible bio-electronics and new analytics methods to help patients and medical decision makers.
"Coleman's work in that field is revolutionizing how we monitor high-risk pregnancies and his interdisciplinary team is looking to use the technology to solve a host of other matters, from Alzheimer's disease to seizures in premature babies," The Root wrote.
Coleman will present his research at the prestigious TEDMED conference Nov. 18 to 20 in Palm Springs. His talk will focus on multi-disciplinary research and bioelectronics. He is part of the event's Techno-Utopia session.
The TEDMED website describes the session as follows: "Brimming with shiny techno-optimism, this session features novel ways we are creating technologies with wide applications to health and medicine. Behold a sensor innovator's quest to make medical care less invasive; a synthetic biologist's journey to make artificial DNA base pairs replicate in nature; a daring pursuit to discover new uses for old drugs with machine learning; and even a generous communicator's journey to harness technology's power to help us find meaning in our most tragic losses."
Before coming to UC San Diego, Coleman was a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Illinois, where he then became an assistant professor in electrical and computer engineering and neuroscience. He earned a master's and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and received bachelor's degrees in electrical engineering and computer engineering, both summa cum laude, from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.
Coleman went to Carter High School in Dallas, which is famous for its football program. He excelled in academics. He told The San Diego Union-Tribune in 2011:
"My family still follows many of my grandfather's words of wisdom. He had a sixth-grade education but made a solid living for his family. He showed his children how much he valued education by rewarding all seven of them with a dollar for every A on their report card. Most of them earned straight A's, so he was out a lot of money on report card days. My favorite saying of his is, 'Anything worth doing is worth doing well'."