March 17, 2005
Vol. 24 No. 12

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    Four on Chicago faculty named Sloan Foundation fellows

    By Steve Koppes
    News Office

    The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has selected four University scholars to receive 2005 Sloan Research Fellowships. Jesper Grodal, Assistant Professor in Mathematics and the College; Chuan He, Assistant Professor in Chemistry and the College; David Mazziotti, Assistant Professor in Chemistry and the College; and Monika Piazzesi, Assistant Professor of Finance in the Graduate School of Business, are among 116 scholars named from colleges and universities in the United States and Canada.

    Now in their 50th year, the Sloan Research Fellowship awards are intended to enhance the careers of the best young faculty members in chemistry, computational and evolutionary molecular biology, computer science, economics, mathematics, neuroscience, and physics.

    Grodal’s research interests encompass algebraic topology, finite groups and modular representation theory. Within algebraic topology he focuses on homotopy theory of classifying spaces, including abstract approaches to classifying spaces and group actions. His work is partially funded by the National Science Foundation.

    Grodal has a B.S. in mathematics and physics, and an M.S. in mathematics from the University of Copenhagen. He received his Ph.D. in mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2000. He joined the Chicago Mathematics faculty as an L.E. Dickson Instructor in 2001, following appointments at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., and Université Paris 13.

    Chuan He uses the tools of biochemistry, molecular biology and chemistry to study the DNA repair process, which plays a role in preventing cancer and other diseases. He also studies metal ion regulation in biological systems using chemical and biochemical approaches. His goal is to better understand at the molecular level the pathways of metal homeostasis. Cells use homeostasis to regulate metal ion concentrations, which is critical to their survival. His latest research involves the study of fundamental chemistry and reactivity of silver and gold complexes.

    He graduated from the University of Science and Technology of China, then received his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2000. He joined the Chicago faculty in 2002, following a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University.

    Mazziotti is working to simplify the process for calculating the electronic properties of molecules. He took a major step in that direction late last year with an article published in Physical Review Letters.

    In the article, Mazziotti presented a way to use only one pair of electrons to represent the many electrons of a molecule. The technique is useful for solving problems in atmospheric chemistry, combustion and other areas of research where the behavior of electrons plays a critical role.

    Mazziotti has a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and a Ph.D. from Harvard University. He joined the Chicago faculty in 2002, following postdoctoral fellowships at Duke University and Princeton.

    Piazzesi’s research interests focus on financial economics, macroeconomics and applied time series. Since 2000, she has served as a research associate with the National Bureau of Economic Research.

    Piazzesi, who joined the University faculty in 2003, received a Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University in 2000. She also earned a diploma in economics from the University of Bonn, Germany.