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Young researchers recognized for cutting-edge work

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Young researchers recognized for cutting-edge work

Five high flyers among The University of Texas faculty can now spread their wings a bit more after having been recognized with Sloan Research Fellowships for 2008. The prestigious two-year, $45,000 awards will provide flexible funds to support the recipients’ research interests, which span the natural sciences from mathematics to biology.

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation awards its fellowships every year to stimulate fundamental research by early-career scientists and scholars of outstanding promise. The 118 winners for this year were chosen from among more than 600 nominations in the Unites States and Canada.

The five new Sloan recipients at UT are:

Christopher Bielawski, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, who is broadly interested in synthesizing, studying, and applying unique organic and organometallic polymers that can be used in electronic devices, drug delivery systems, and self-healing materials.

Hans Hofmann, assistant professor of integrative biology, who focuses on understanding the molecular and hormonal mechanisms that underlie social behavior and its evolution.

Xiaoqin (Elaine) Li, assistant professor of physics, who studies ultrafast nonlinear spectroscopy in condensed matter, quantum dynamics, and control in nanostructures.

Lara Mahal, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, who merges chemistry and biology to create new methods for the study of glycosylation — the addition of sugars to protein and lipid molecules. The methods include the creation and use of new probes, cellular sensors, and array technologies.

Natasa Pavlovic, assistant professor of mathematics, who focuses her research on partial differential equations and harmonic analysis.

Sloan Research Fellowships are intended to identify those who show the most outstanding promise of making fundamental contributions to new knowledge. Fellows, once chosen, are free to pursue whatever lines of inquiry are of the most compelling interest to them. Their funds can be applied to a wide variety of uses for which other, more restricted funds such as research project grants cannot usually be employed. Since the establishment of the fellowships, 35 fellows have gone on to win the Nobel Prize in their fields.

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