Two Northwestern faculty members have been awarded a prestigious 2023 Sloan Research Fellowship from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. They were selected for their creativity, innovation and research accomplishments, which make them stand out as the next generation of leaders.
The new Northwestern fellows are chemist Todd Gingrich of Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and neuroscientist Ann Kennedy of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
The two are included among 126 outstanding early-career researchers who make up this year’s class. The annual fellowships are awarded to scholars in seven scientific and technical fields: chemistry, computer science, Earth system science, economics, mathematics, neuroscience and physics. This year’s fellows were drawn from a diverse range of 54 institutions across the U.S. and Canada.
The two-year $75,000 fellowship is one of the most competitive and prestigious awards available to young researchers, and past fellows have gone on to become some of the most decorated experts in their field. The financial support can be used flexibly to advance the fellow’s research.
“Sloan Research Fellows are shining examples of innovative and impactful research,” said Adam F. Falk, president of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. “We are thrilled to support their groundbreaking work, and we look forward to following their continued success.”
Selected as a Sloan Research Fellow in neuroscience, Ann Kennedy is an assistant professor of neuroscience at Feinberg. Her laboratory for theoretical neuroscience and behavior studies how the brain integrates sensory information with an animal’s survival needs to drive adaptive behavior.
Her team develops computational models of subcortical neural circuits and applies methods from machine learning and dynamical systems to study the structure of animal behavior, its modification by survival needs and its dysregulation in diseases and disorders of the nervous system.
Todd Gingrich, an assistant professor of chemistry at Weinberg, was selected as a Sloan Research Fellow in chemistry. Gingrich is a theoretical chemist specializing in the dynamics of nonequilibrium systems. Design problems are ubiquitous in chemistry.
Many computer algorithms exist for predicting and rationalizing how to design molecules to favor certain structures in equilibrium, but to mimic the chemical capabilities of living systems, chemists must extend their designs of molecules to consider what happens when they consume chemical fuels and expel waste. Gingrich and his group develop and apply algorithms to simulate chemical kinetics in those nonequilibrium regimes.
Since the first Sloan Research Fellowships were awarded in 1955, 117 Northwestern faculty members have received a Sloan Research Fellowship.