20 Mar UW-Madison has 7 Sloan research fellows, top in nation
The University of Wisconsin-Madison leads the nation in the number of Sloan Foundation Fellowships in Science and Technology awarded in 2006. UW-Madison’s total this year is up to seven, from the two Sloans awarded in 2005.
The foundation bestows the awards on young researchers in the fields of chemistry, computer science, economics, mathematics, molecular biology, neuroscience and physics. Sloan Fellowships carry a two-year, $45,000 stipend.
The winners are:
• Helen Blackwell, assistant professor of chemistry. Blackwell says that she will use the grant to study the mechanisms of bacterial communication. “We are developing new chemical ligands to intercept these communication pathways and modulate both pathogenesis and symbiosis,” she says. “Such ligands have the potential to illuminate new therapeutic targets to fight infectious disease.”
• Serguei Dennissov, assistant professor of mathematics. Says Dennisov, “I am planning to use the funds to continue my research in analysis and mathematical physics. Some of the money might be used to attend conferences, invite visitors, and support the graduate students and postdoctorates.”
• Lingjun Li, assistant professor of chemistry and pharmaceutical sciences. Li works at the intersection of analytical chemistry and cellular neurobiology. “My group will develop a Web server for predicting mutation hot spots – residues which mutation can affect significantly binding affinity,” she says. “This resource will be extremely useful in work with protein chemistry and engineering.”
• Julie C. Mitchell, assistant professor of biochemistry and mathematics. Mitchell’s research will develop an integrated analytical platform for the functional discovery of novel neural peptides.
• Frank Petriello, assistant professor of physics. He will collide beams of protons at the highest energies ever obtained in particle accelerators at the Large Hadron Collider in Europe. Says Petriello, “These collisions will help unravel several outstanding mysteries in physics, including the origin of mass and the composition of dark matter in the universe.” He says that he will use his fellowship to develop the calculation techniques needed to model and understand the results of these experiments.
• Ananth Seshadri, associate professor of economics, plans to use the grant for two different projects: One examines the importance of human capital policy for economic development, while the other attempts to explain the wide variation in household wealth at retirement.
• Martin T. Zanni, assistant professor of chemistry. Zanni is exploring molecular structures and dynamics through vibrational motions. “Many fundamental physical chemistry problems are being investigated to advance our understanding of the basic physics behind molecular vibrations,” he says.