Sloan fellowships give research boost to nine young faculty members

Nine young UC Berkeley faculty members have been awarded 2015 Sloan Research Fellowships, which are coveted grants for scientists and scholars at the beginning of their academic careers.

The fellowships are among 126 announced today (Monday, Feb. 23) by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. They go to outstanding U.S. and Canadian researchers whose achievements and potential identify them as rising stars and the next generation of scientific leaders, according to the foundation. The annual fellowships provide $50,000 to further the research of early-career scientists and scholars.

UC Berkeley received more fellowships than did any other university in the country, and half of the 18 fellowships awarded to faculty in the UC system, which included five at UC San Diego, two at UC Irvine and one each at UCLA and UC Santa Barbara. Since the Sloan fellowships were instituted in 1955, 244 campus faculty members have received the award.


Thomas Maimone, chemistry.


Naomi Ginsberg, chemistry/physics.

The UC Berkeley recipients are: in chemistry, Naomi Ginsberg and Thomas Maimone; in economics, Benjamin Handel; in mathematics, Vivek Shende, Richard Bamler and Lin Lin; in neuroscience, Helen Bateup and Polina V. Lishko; and in physics, James Analytis.

“The beginning of a one’s career is a crucial time in the life of a scientist. Building a lab, attracting funding in an increasingly competitive environment, and securing tenure all depend on doing innovative, original high-quality work and having that work recognized,” said Paul L. Joskow, president of the foundation. “For more than 50 years the Sloan Foundation has been proud to celebrate the achievements of extraordinary young scientists who are pushing the boundaries of scientific knowledge.”


Benjamin Handel, economics.

Ginsberg, an assistant professor of chemistry and of physics, is developing advanced microscopes to facilitate high-resolution studies of living cells and molecular interactions in solution.

Maimone, an assistant professor of chemistry, searches for innovative ways to synthesize complex, biologically active natural products, typically by re-engineering them to increase their applicability to problems in biology and medicine.

Handel, an assistant professor of economics and faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research, focuses on the microeconomics of consumer choice and market structure in the health care sector, with an emphasis on the factors that drive innovation in health care.


Lin Lin, math.


Richard Bamler, math.


Vivek Shende, math.

Shende, an assistant professor of mathematics, studies algebraic geometry, singularities, knot invariants, representation theory and contact geometry.

Bamler, an assistant professor of mathematics, specializes in geometry and topology.

Lin, an assistant professor of mathematics and a faculty scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, is an applied mathematician focusing on developing novel, efficient and reliable numerical algorithms and mathematical software tools for computational chemistry and materials science.


Polina Lishko, neuroscience.


Helen Bateup, neuroscience.

Bateup, an assistant professor of molecular and cell biology, studies a signaling pathway in neurons that has been linked to developmental disorders such as autism, epilepsy and intellectual disability.

Lishko, an assistant professor of molecular and cell biology, focuses on the molecular physiology of human sperm cells to understand the basic molecular mechanisms underlying the physiology of mammalian fertilization and to develop safe unisex contraceptives and much-needed diagnostic tests for male fertility.


James Analytis, physics.

Analytis, an assistant professor of physics and the Charles Kittel Chair in condensed matter physics, uses tools such as high-field magnets to understand and discover new exotic materials, such as superconductors, exotic magnets and topological insulators, that manifest novel quantum phenomena.

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is a philanthropic, not-for-profit grantmaking institution based in New York City. Established in 1934, the foundation makes grants in support of original research and education in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and economic performance.