Two Petit Institute Researchers Awarded Sloan Fellowships

<p>Sloan Fellows Chethan Pandarinath and Eva Dyer</p>

Sloan Fellows Chethan Pandarinath and Eva Dyer

Eva Dyer and Chethan Pandarinath, researchers from the Petit institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience, are among four faculty members receiving research fellowships from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The fellowships, awarded yearly since 1955, honor early-career scholars whose achievements mark them as among the most promising researchers in their fields.

“Sloan Research Fellows are the best young scientists working today,” says Adam F. Falk, president of the Sloan Foundation. “Sloan Fellows stand out for their creativity, for their hard work, for the importance of the issues they tackle and the energy and innovation with which they tackle them. To be a Sloan Fellow is to be in the vanguard of 21st-century science.”

Past Sloan Research Fellows include many towering figures in the history of science, including physicists Richard Feynman and Murray Gell-Mann, and game theorist John Nash. Forty-seven fellows have received a Nobel Prize in their respective field, 17 have won the Fields Medal in mathematics, 69 have received the National Medal of Science and 18 have won the John Bates Clark Medal in economics, including every winner since 2007.

In addition to Dyer and Pandarinath, both assistant professors in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory, Sloan Fellows from Georgia Tech include assistant professors Matthew McDowell (Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering and Department of Materials Science and Engineering) and Konstantin Tikhomirov (School of Mathematics).

Dyer’s research interests lie at the intersection of machine learning, optimization and neuroscience. Her lab develops computational methods for discovering principles that govern the organization and structure of the brain, as well as methods for integrating multi-modal datasets to reveal the link between neural structure and function.

Pandarinath, also an assistant professor in Emory’s Department of Neurosurgery as well as the Emory Neuromodulation Technology Innovation Center, leads the Emory and Georgia Tech Systems Neural Engineering Lab. He’s part of an interdisciplinary team at Emory and Georgia Tech working to better understand how large networks of neurons in the brain encode information and control behavior. Pandarinath’s team hopes to design new brain-machine interface technologies to help restore movement to people who are paralyzed, including those affected by spinal cord injury and stroke, and by Parkinson’s disease and ALS.

McDowell’s research focuses on understanding how materials for energy storage and electronic devices change, transform and degrade during operation. His research group uses situ experimental techniques to probe materials transformations under realistic conditions. The fundamental scientific advances made by the group guide the engineering of materials for breakthrough new devices.

Tikhomirov’s research takes in asymptotic geometric analysis and random matrix theory. He studies the geometry of high-dimensional convex sets with the help of probabilistic tools and using random linear operators, and the spectral distribution of random matrices by applying methods from discrete geometry. His research directions have multiple connections with applied science, in particular, for numerical analysis of large systems of linear equations, modeling communication networks and studying certain physical systems with large numbers of particles.

This is the second year in a row that the Sloan Foundation has recognized Georgia Tech researchers with connections to both the Petit Institute and Coulter Department. Last year, assistant professor Bilal Haider won a Sloan Fellowship.

Valued not only for their prestige, Sloan Research Fellowships are a highly flexible source of research support. Funds may be spent in any way a fellow deems will best advance his or her work. Drawn this year from 57 colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, the 2019 Sloan Research Fellows represent a diverse array of research interests.

Open to scholars in eight scientific and technical fields — chemistry, computer science, economics, mathematics, computational and evolutionary molecular biology, neuroscience, ocean sciences and physics — the Sloan Research Fellowships are awarded in close coordination with the scientific community. Candidates must be nominated by their fellow scientists, and winning fellows are selected by independent panels of senior scholars on the basis of a candidate’s research accomplishments, creativity and potential to become a leader in his or her field. Winners receive a two-year, $70,000 fellowship to further their research.

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is a philanthropic, not-for-profit grant making institution based in New York City. Established in 1934 by Alfred Pritchard Sloan Jr., then-president and CEO of the General Motors Corporation, the Foundation makes grants in support of original research and education in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and economics.


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Jerry Grillo
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Parker H. Petit Institute for
Bioengineering and Bioscience