PHILADELPHIA - Three University of Pennsylvania faculty members are among this year’s Sloan Research Fellowship recipients. Since 1955, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has granted yearly fellowships to early-career scientists and scholars whose achievements and potential identify them as the next generation of scientific leaders. To qualify, candidates must be nominated by their peers and selected by an independent panel of senior scholars. Each Fellow receives a $50,000 award to further his or her research.

Matthew Kayser, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, is a practicing psychiatrist at the Perelman School of Medicine, specializing in issues related to sleep and mental health. His lab works on how neural circuits give rise to complex behaviors and how dysfunction of neural processes can cause mental illness. His particular focus is in understanding how sleep -- a highly conserved behavior whose core function remains a mystery -- contributes to sculpting brain circuits during development and in other times of life.


Zongming Ma, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Statistics at the Wharton School, conducts research on statistical analysis of high-dimensional and massive datasets, such as those arising from neuroscience and social networks. His research focuses on the core statistical problems that are common to these and other related application areas. By building the mathematical foundation for these problems, his goal is to gain sufficient theoretical insights to design practical algorithms for better data analysis.



Golnaz Vahedi, PhD, an assistant professor of Genetics and a member of the Institute for Immunology at the Perelman School of Medicine, studies the biological circuits that underlie cellular processes in immune cells to uncover the molecular basis of major inherited diseases. Her lab works with vast quantities of rich, high-dimensional data that capture system-wide properties at molecular and cellular resolution in immune cells. A major focus of Vahedi lab is to deconstruct gene-environment interactions in complex diseases such as autoimmune disorders by generating the epigenomic maps of immune cells and developing computational methods to integrate these maps with human genetics.

“Getting early-career support can be a make-or-break moment for a young scholar,” said Paul L. Joskow, President of the Alfred P. Sloan 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. Fellows represent the best-of-the-best among young scientists.”

Penn Medicine is one of the world’s leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation’s first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $8.9 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top medical schools in the United States for more than 20 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $496 million awarded in the 2020 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System’s patient care facilities include: the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center—which are recognized as one of the nation’s top “Honor Roll” hospitals by U.S. News & World Report—Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Medicine Princeton Health; and Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation’s first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional facilities and enterprises include Good Shepherd Penn Partners, Penn Medicine at Home, Lancaster Behavioral Health Hospital, and Princeton House Behavioral Health, among others.

Penn Medicine is powered by a talented and dedicated workforce of more than 44,000 people. The organization also has alliances with top community health systems across both Southeastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey, creating more options for patients no matter where they live.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2020, Penn Medicine provided more than $563 million to benefit our community.

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