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Mark Shwartz, News Service (650) 723-9296; e-mail:

Sloan Foundation awards fellowships to three Stanford researchers

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has awarded fellowships to three Stanford faculty members for pioneering research in chemistry, computer science and mathematics.

The New York-based foundation selected three assistant professors among this year's Sloan Research Fellows: Thomas J. Wandless, chemistry; Balaji Prabhakar, electrical engineering and computer science; and Gigliola Staffilani, mathematics.

The three Stanford researchers are among 104 young scientists and economists from the United States and Canada chosen to receive a $40,000, two-year grant.

Sloan Research Fellowships were created in 1955 to provide flexible funds to outstanding researchers early in their academic careers. Once chosen, fellows are free to pursue whatever lines of inquiry are of most interest to them, according to a foundation spokesperson.


Thomas J. Wandless


A professor of organic and biological chemistry, Wandless uses an interdisciplinary approach to researching biological processes. Specifically, his laboratory group focuses on synthesizing new molecules designed to provide insight into cellular regulation and the mechanisms by which anticancer drugs such as taxol function. Wandless received his doctorate in chemistry from Harvard University and joined the Stanford faculty in 1995.


Balaji Prabhakar


Prabhakar has been an assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science since 1998. His research interests are in the design and analysis of high-speed computer and wireless networks. One of Prabhakar's goals is to enable the delivery of real-time voice over the Internet. His theoretical interests include stochastic network theory and its relationship to information theory; randomized algorithms arising in networking; and probability theory. Prabhakar received a doctorate in electrical engineering from the University of California at Los Angeles.


Gigliola Staffilani


Staffilani earned her doctorate in mathematics from the University of Chicago in 1995, then joined the Stanford faculty a year later.

"My research involves the study of certain dispersive partial differential equations," she says. "These equations are highly non-linear and are introduced to model many wave phenomena that occur in nature. One very famous equation that fits in this class is the Schrödinger equation.

"My research focuses on answering these basic questions: If the profile of the wave at time zero is very 'rough,' is it still possible to claim that, at a later time, a wave that starts with that profile and satisfies the given dispersive equation exists? If it does exist, how long is the 'lifetime'? If it does not 'live' forever, what goes wrong?

"In the last few years there has been a significant advance in answering these basic questions, thanks also to new techniques developed in connection with harmonic and Fourier analysis. As a consequence, our understanding of several phenomena in nature is now more complete."



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