Three members of the UW faculty, two chemists and one engineer, are among 126 recipients of Sloan Research Fellowships, announced today by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. This years awardees represent 51 colleges and universities in the United States and Canada. According to the foundation, the fellowships “are given to early-career scientists and scholars whose achievements and potential identify them as rising stars, the next generation of scientific leaders.”
The new UW fellows are:
Munira Khalil, an assistant professor of chemistry, earned a doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2004. She was a research fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory from 2004 to 2007, when she came to the UW. Her research group studies how coupled electron and vibrational motions and their interactions with the surrounding solvent dictate the course of ultrafast charge transfer reactions in chemical and biological systems.
Shwetak Patel, an assistant professor in the departments of computer science & engineering and electrical engineering, earned his doctorate at the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2008, when he came to the UW. While in graduate school he co-founded Zensi, a home energy-monitoring company that was acquired in 2010 by Belkin. Last year he received fellowships from Microsoft Research and the MacArthur Foundation. Patels research focuses on sensors, user interface and human-computer interaction. Recent projects include monitoring home energy and water use, and using a homes utility infrastructure to enable whole-house sensing.
Bo Zhang, an assistant professor of chemistry, earned a doctorate at the University of Utah in 2006. He worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Pennsylvania State University before coming to the UW in 2008. His research focuses mainly on fundamental and applied aspects of electrochemistry and bioanalytical chemistry using nanoelectrodes. His group is interested in developing new electrochemical methods to study electrocatalysis in single molecules and single nanoparticles, and to image neuronal communication at nanoscale resolution.
The Sloan Research Fellowships have been awarded since 1955, initially in only three areas: physics, chemistry and mathematics. Since then, 38 Sloan Research Fellows have gone on to win the Nobel Prize in their fields, and 16 have received the Fields Medal, the top honor in mathematics. The program now also recognizes researchers in economics, computer science, economics, evolutionary and computational molecular biology and neuroscience; this year it expanded to include ocean sciences.
The fellowships include a grant of $50,000 over a two-year period. Once chosen, Sloan Research Fellows are free to pursue whatever lines of inquiry are of most interest to them, and they are permitted to employ Fellowship funds in a wide variety of ways to further their research aims.
“Todays Sloan Research Fellows are tomorrows Nobel Prize winners,” said foundation president Paul Joskow. “These outstanding men and women are responsible for some of the most exciting science being done today. The Foundation is proud to support them during this pivotal stage of their careers.”