Roberto Fernández Galán, assistant professor of neurosciences, and Thomas Gray, assistant professor of chemistry, have been selected as 2009 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellows.
"The Sloan Research Fellowships support the work of exceptional young researchers early in their academic careers, and often at pivotal stages in their work," says Paul L. Joskow, president of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. This year, 118 researchers from 61 colleges and universities received the fellowships, which support early career scientists, mathematicians and economists.
The $50,000 grant covers a two-year period. Sloan Research Fellows are free to pursue whatever lines of inquiry are of most interest to them, and they are allowed to employ the funds in a wide variety of ways to further their research goals.
Galán, who came to Case Western Reserve University last year, investigates how neurons cooperate together to generate brain rhythms and other forms of coordinated activity that emerge in neuronal networks. "This coordinated effort ultimately accounts for our behavior or at least for cognitive processes such as attention, awareness, learning and memory," he says. Galán, who also is a scholar in the Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation Scholars Program in the Basic Sciences, adds that several pathologies are caused by, or at least related, to an abnormal coordination of neuronal activity such as epilepsy and schizophrenia.
Gray joined the university in 2004. Research in the Gray Group at Case Western Reserve has focused on the unique properties of transition-element clusters, and on the opportunities they convey for groundbreaking science. Gray has authored or co-authored dozens of research articles. He was a National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellow from 2002 to 2003.
Each fellow's home institution endorses faculty members for this award. According to the provost’s office, it's been nine years since the university had a Sloan Fellow, and 36 years since two professors from Case Western Reserve were awarded fellowships in the same year.
According to the Sloan Foundation, 38 of its fellows have gone on to win the Nobel Prize in their fields and 14 have received the Fields Medal, the top honor in mathematics. Go online for a complete list of this year's Sloan Fellowship winners.
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