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Alejandro Lleras receives National Science Foundation CAREER Award


Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Alejandro Lleras, a professor of psychology at the University of Illinois and an affiliate of the Beckman Institute, is a recipient of an Early Faculty CAREER award from the National Science Foundation. The $400,000 award will be distributed over five years, beginning in 2008.

The award supports the early career development of teacher-scholars who most effectively integrate research and education in line with the mission of their institutions.

In his research, Lleras explores fundamental questions of perception, such as how we become aware of visual information and what factors affect what visual information we attend to and which we ignore. His work illustrates the interplay between awareness, attention and prior experiences and how these systems constantly influence each other.

As an instructor at the graduate and undergraduate level, Lleras receives high marks in student evaluations for his teaching effectiveness, clarity, course quality and relevance.

When evaluating Lleras for the award, the NSF reviewers cited his impressive list of publications in leading journals and the high quality and creativity of his research. His commitment to training others in the field was also noted.

“The applicant’s department is able and willing to provide the support necessary to further develop the career of the applicant such that he will become one of the leading figures in experimental psychology and cognitive neuroscience,” a reviewer wrote.

Editor’s note: To reach Alejandro Lleras, e-mail