Four exceptional young UCLA professors are among 126 scientists and scholars in the United States and Canada selected today to receive 2017 Sloan Research Fellowships.

The fellowships are awarded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to early-career scientists and scholars who are the “rising stars of the academic community” and who are “transforming their fields and opening up entirely new research horizons,” said Paul Joskow, president of the Sloan Foundation.

UCLA is tied for eighth in the United States among institutions with the largest number of Sloan Research Fellowships. UCLA’s 2017 recipients are: 

Pablo Fajgelbaum
Fajgelbaum is an assistant professor of economics specializing in international trade. His recent research includes the distributional effects of international trade, the impact of regional tax policies and optimal transport networks in general-equilibrium trade models. He teaches international trade theory at both undergraduate and graduate levels.

Weizhe Hong
Hong, an assistant professor of biological chemistry and neurobiology in UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, employs a multidisciplinary approach to answer fundamental questions in neuroscience. He and his research team use optogenetics, imaging, genomics and computer vision to understand how complex social behavior is regulated by neural circuits in the brain and how this goes wrong in neuropsychiatric disorders.

Sriram Sankararaman
Sankararaman is an assistant professor of computer science and of human genetics, whose areas of research include computational biology, statistical genomics and statistical machine learning. His research lies at the interface of computer science, statistics and biology. He develops novel statistical models and algorithms to analyze large-scale genomic data with the aim of understanding evolutionary processes as well as the genetic basis of complex phenotypes. He is also interested in the statistical and inferential challenges that arise in making sense of genomic data.

Alexander Spokoyny
Spokoyny, an assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, takes an interdisciplinary approach, focusing on challenges in chemistry, biology, medicine and materials science. He and his research team establish fundamentally new synthetic avenues and develop an extensive and versatile synthetic toolbox, including multifunctional, atomically precise, nano-sized molecules. His research reveals novel and potentially useful solutions to important problems in science and technology, including catalysis, energy storage, and protein recognition and labeling.

Sloan Research Fellowships are intended to enhance the careers of exceptional young scientists and scholars in chemistry, computer science, economics, mathematics, computational and evolutionary molecular biology, neuroscience, ocean sciences and physics. The philanthropic, New York–based foundation was established in 1934.