March 12, 2004
Eight Stanford scientists receive Sloan Fellowships
By Mark Shwartz
The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has chosen eight Stanford University scientists to receive Sloan Research Fellowships for 2004: Serafim Batzoglou, assistant professor of computer science; Justin Du Bois, assistant professor of chemistry; Ashish Goel, assistant professor of management science and engineering and, by courtesy, of computer science; Kalanit Grill-Spector and Anthony D. Wagner, assistant professors of psychology; Jonathan D. Levin, assistant professor of economics; Tirin Moore, assistant professor of neurobiology; and Kang Shen, assistant professor of biological sciences.
They are among 116 researchers in the United States and Canada to receive $40,000 each in unrestricted grants over the next two years. The fellowship program is designed to support promising young scientists and economists early in their careers.
Serafim Batzoglou specializes in biocomputation and the applications of mathematics and computer science to genomic research. He focuses his efforts on developing algorithms and software systems for genomic sequence analysis. He has developed significant programs for deciphering genomes, such as Arachne, for assembling full genomes from gene fragments; GLASS/Rosetta, for finding genes by comparative genomics; and LAGAN, for comparing genomes of different species. His current research centers on alignment algorithms, comparative genomics, regulatory motif finding, microarray analysis and genomic assembly. He earned his doctorate in computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2000 and was named one of the top 100 young innovators by MIT's Technology Review magazine in 2003.
Justin Du Bois earned a doctoral degree in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology in 1997. A recipient of the 2004 Arthur C. Cope Young Scholars Award, his research focuses on chemical synthesis ? specifically on the design and preparation of novel transition metal reagents and catalysts that promote selective chemical transformations. Applying these methods to problems in natural product synthesis, molecular recognition and biological chemistry is the underlying motivation for his research.
Ashish Goel earned his doctorate from Stanford in 1999. He subsequently served as an assistant professor of computer science at the University of Southern California before joining Stanford in January 2003. His research focuses on the analysis of algorithms and their applications in optimization, computer networks and nanotechnology -- specifically, molecular self-assembly, which allows simple nanoscale components, such as DNA, to form large, intricate objects of precisely controlled size and pattern. Potential applications include DNA computation, biochip computers, molecular robots and fractal antennas. In computer networks, Goel has been active in the areas of routing, switch scheduling, adversarial queueing theory, wireless/sensor networks, simulations and peer-to-peer systems.
Kalanit Grill-Spector earned her doctorate in computer science and neurobiology from Israel's Weizmann Institute of Science in 2000. Grill-Spector jointly leads a group of postdoctoral fellows and graduate students studying activity in the human brain using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), computational techniques and behavioral methods to investigate visual object recognition and other high-level visual processes. Her research focuses on the fact that for humans, object recognition is a natural, effortless skill that occurs within a few hundreds of milliseconds, yet it is one of the least understood aspects of visual perception.
Jonathan D. Levin earned bachelor's degrees in English and mathematics from Stanford in 1994. He spent two years as a Fulbright Scholar at Oxford University before completing his doctorate at the MIT in 1999. Levin's research focuses on the organization of firms and markets. His current work investigates the design of auction and matching markets, and tries to understand how different market rules and institutions affect the behavior of market participants and lead to different economic outcomes.
Tirin Moore received his doctorate in neuroscience and psychology from Princeton University in 1995 and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in neuroscience at MIT in 1999. He returned to Princeton for an individual postdoctoral fellowship as the recipient of a National Institutes of Health National Research Service Award, and then joined the Stanford faculty last summer. His research focuses on neural mechanisms of visual-motor integration and the neurophysiological basis of cognition, including visual attention, visual awareness and working memory. He studies the activity of single neurons in visual and motor structures within the primate brain, and tests how perturbing that activity affects neurons in other brain structures, and how it affects motor and perceptual behavior.
Kang Shen earned a medical degree from Tongji Medical University in China and a doctoral degree in cell biology and neuroscience from Duke University. He joined the Stanford faculty in 2003 after completing postdoctoral research at the University of California-San Francisco. His research focuses on understanding how synapses are formed, the final step in wiring a nervous system. His lab studies the molecular mechanisms underlying synaptic specificity ? how neurons recognize each other, and how they make decisions about forming synapses during development.
Anthony D. Wagner earned his doctorate from Stanford in 1997. Wagner recently returned to his alma mater to head the Learning and Memory Lab in the Department of Psychology. His research emphasizes that the ability to remember the past is critical for many levels of human behavior, from remembering to take medications to the development and use of language. Wagner's lab seeks to understand how human memory is organized and supported by the mind and brain. A particular emphasis is placed on understanding the interaction between attention and long-term memory.
Dawn Levy, Lisa Trei and Susan Ipaktchian contributed to this story.