[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 17-Feb-2012
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Contact: James Devitt
james.devitt@nyu.edu
212-998-6808
New York University

3 NYU faculty win Sloan Foundation research fellowships

Three New York University faculty have been awarded fellowships from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation: Robert Froemke, an assistant professor in the Departments of Otolaryngology, Physiology, and Neuroscience at NYU Langone Medical Center; Pierre Germain, an assistant professor at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences; and Virgiliu Midrigan, an assistant professor in the Department of Economics.

The fellowships are given to early-career scientists and scholars "whose achievements and potential identify them as rising stars—the next generation of scientific leaders," the Sloan Foundation said in announcing this year's fellows.

"Today's Sloan Research Fellows are tomorrow's Nobel Prize winners," said Paul Joskow, president of the Sloan Foundation. "These outstanding men and women are responsible for some of the most exciting science being done today. The Foundation is proud to support them during this pivotal stage of their careers."

Fellows receive $50,000, over a two-year period, to further their research.

Froemke studies neuroplasticity: how experiences change the brain and how these changes in neural networks then affect behavior. Experiments performed by Froemke and his staff aim to reveal how individual synapses are changed by alterations in the patterns of neural activity, neurochemical signaling, and sensory experience. By a combination of electrical recordings from single nerve cells, computational analysis, and behavioral experiments, Froemke's research seeks to discover basic principles and quantitative rules by which neural circuits and synapses develop during childhood and are reorganized in adults, triggered by arousal, reward, and social contact.

Germain studies nonlinear dispersive equations, which describe a wealth of physical phenomena, from quantum mechanics to general relativity to fluid mechanics. Germain's recent work has focused on waves at the surface of the ocean. His research provides tools to understand their behavior over long periods of time, which aids in our understanding of tsunamis, among other phenomena.

Midrigan studies the implications of price rigidities for the conduct of monetary policy and business cycle fluctuations, the sources of movements in international relative prices, the determinants of the large cross-country differences in output and productivity, as well as the welfare gains from international trade.

Historically awarded in seven scientific fields—chemistry, computer science, economics, mathematics, evolutionary and computational molecular biology, neuroscience, and physics—the fellowships were expanded this year to include awards to eight young researchers working in the ocean sciences.

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Administered and funded by the Sloan Foundation, the fellowships are awarded in close cooperation with the scientific community. To qualify, candidates must first be nominated by their peers and are subsequently selected by an independent panel of senior scholars.

For a complete list of winners, visit: www.sloan.org/fellowships/page/21.



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