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Two University of Illinois professors win 2009 Sloan Fellowships

2/17/2009 | James E. Kloeppel, Physical Sciences Editor | 217-244-1073; kloeppel@illinois.edu

[ Email | Share ] CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Two University of Illinois professors have been selected to receive 2009 Sloan Research Fellowships from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The U. of I. winners are Martin D. Burke and Benjamin J. McCall, both in chemistry.

The two are among 118 outstanding young scientists, mathematicians and economists from among 61 colleges and universities in the United States and Canada chosen to receive Sloan Fellowships.

“The Sloan Research Fellowships support the work of exceptional young researchers early in their academic careers, and often at pivotal stages in their work,” said Paul L. Joskow, the president of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Burke’s research focuses on the synthesis and study of small molecules with the capacity to perform protein-like functions. Ultimately, such compounds may serve as substitutes for missing or dysfunctional proteins, thereby operating as prostheses on the molecular scale. Burke is developing new strategies and methods to make the process of complex small molecule synthesis as simple, efficient and flexible as possible.

McCall’s research is in the emerging field of “astrochemistry,” the study of molecules of astronomical importance. McCall is developing cutting-edge laboratory techniques for the laser spectroscopic study of molecular ions in the gas phase. These spectra will enable the detection of new molecules and their concentrations in the interstellar medium and in interstellar clouds.

The fellowship program provides each fellow with a grant of $50,000 for a two-year period. Fellows are free to pursue whatever lines of inquiry are of most interest to them, and they are permitted to employ fellowship funds in a wide variety of ways to further their research aims.

Sloan Research Fellowships have been awarded since 1955.

 

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