Academics & Faculty

UCLA ranks second in nation in number of 2012 Alfred P. Sloan fellows

Six exceptional UCLA scholars awarded prestigious research fellowships

Six outstanding young professors from UCLA are among 126 scientists and scholars from 51 colleges and universities in the United States and Canada to receive 2012 Sloan Research Fellowships from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
UCLA and Yale University each had six faculty members selected, second only to Stanford University, which had seven. (One of Stanford's recipients is on leave from UCLA and started a faculty position at Stanford last July.) 
The fellowships are awarded to exceptional young researchers, "whose achievements and potential identify them as rising stars, the next generation of scientific leaders," according to the New York–based foundation.
The UCLA recipients are:
Boustan is an assistant professor of economics whose interests lie at the intersection of economic history and modern labor and urban economics. Her research focuses on the Great Black Migration from the rural South during and after World War II and the mass migration from Europe to the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A research associate with the California Center for Population Research and a faculty research fellow with the National Bureau of Economic Research, Platt Boustan is writing a book titled "Competition in the Promised Land: Black Migrants in Northern Cities and Labor Markets."
Garg is an assistant professor of chemistry whose remarkable total synthesis of a natural product created a stir last August at the American Chemical Society's national meeting. His laboratory develops synthetic strategies and methods to enable the synthesis of complex bioactive molecules. He also employs innovative techniques in his teaching, including assigning his undergraduates an extra credit project in which they produce music videos about organic chemistry. Garg joined UCLA's faculty in 2007 and has received numerous awards and honors for his research.
Lee is an assistant professor of electrical engineering at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, with joint appointments in psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences and in radiology. Her research aims to analyze, debug and engineer brain circuits; her specific goals are to understand the brain's connectivity and its function at the systems level and to develop ways to fix the brain to treat various diseases. This means working on a wide range of topics, including biomedical imaging technologies such as MRI and optical imaging, signal processing algorithms, computational algorithms, optics, genetics and molecular biology.
Novembre, an assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and of bioinformatics, is a population geneticist with an interest in theoretical population genetics and statistical genetics. The central area of interest of his laboratory is the development of theory and statistical methods for analyzing genomic-scale population genetic data. Much of his National Science Foundation–funded research investigates questions in evolutionary genetics, focusing on human evolutionary history and using data from emerging genotyping and sequencing technologies. Novembre has won numerous awards and honors for his research.
Roch is an assistant professor of mathematics who conducts research at the intersection of applied probability, mathematical statistics and theoretical computer science, with an emphasis on applications in bioinformatics. His research, supported by the National Science Foundation, focuses on the use of models and techniques from probability theory to develop new methods for solving large-scale statistical and computational problems — for instance, in evolutionary genomics.
Roper is an assistant professor of mathematics whose expertise includes mathematical modeling, fluid dynamics, physical biology and asymptotic methods. He is especially interested in studying the physical constraints on organisms that must disperse, grow or propel themselves in challenging physical environments. His research has looked at how spores disperse, how bacteria spread and how fungi shuttle nuclei around during growth.
"Today's Sloan Research Fellows are tomorrow's Nobel Prize winners," said Paul L. Joskow, president of the Alfred P. 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."
Sloan Research Fellowships are intended to enhance the careers of exceptional young scientists and scholars in chemistry, computer science, economics, mathematics, evolutionary and computational molecular biology, neuroscience, ocean sciences, and physics. For more information, visit
UCLA is California's largest university, with an enrollment of nearly 38,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The UCLA College of Letters and Science and the university's 11 professional schools feature renowned faculty and offer 337 degree programs and majors. UCLA is a national and international leader in the breadth and quality of its academic, research, health care, cultural, continuing education and athletic programs. Six alumni and five faculty have been awarded the Nobel Prize.
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