Wenjun Zhang, Evan Miller, and Ke Xu.
The fellowships, awarded annually since 1955, honor early-career scientists and scholars whose achievements and potential identify them as rising stars and members of the next generation of scientific leaders. Fellows receive $55,000 each to further their research.
CBE’s Zhang seeks to understand and engineer the biosynthesis of natural products for applications related to human health and bioenergy. Chemistry’s Miller applies synthetic chemistry to the field of neuroscience, while Xu studies cell biology on the nanoscale.
“Early-career support can be a make-or-break moment for a young scholar,” says Paul Joskow, president of the foundation. “In an increasingly competitive academic environment, it can be difficult to stand out, even when your work is first-rate. The Sloan Research Fellowships have become an unmistakable marker of quality among researchers.”
The 2016 fellows, including five other Berkeley researchers, are drawn from 52 colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and are awarded in eight scientific and technical fields: chemistry, computer science, economics, mathematics, computational and evolutionary molecular biology, neuroscience, ocean sciences and physics
Since the beginning of the program in 1955, 43 fellows have received a Nobel Prize in their respective field, 16 have won the Fields Medal in mathematics, 68 have received the National Medal of Science, and 15 have won the John Bates Clark Medal in economics, including every winner since 2007.
The Sloane Foundation is a philanthropic, not-for-profit grant-making institution based in New York. It was established in 1934 by Alfred Pritchard Sloan Jr., then president and chief executive officer of the General Motors Corporation.