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August 14


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Currents--University of Rochester newspaper

Two scientists receive Sloan fellowships

Two Rochester neuroscientists who study vision to learn more about the brain have been awarded Alfred P. Sloan research fellowships.

David Calkins, assistant professor of ophthalmology at the Medical Center, and Alexandre Pouget, assistant professor in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, are two of 104 scientists and economists nationwide who received the fellowships this year. Each will receive $40,000 for his research, along with the freedom to spend the funds on any project he chooses--flexibility designed to help young scientists in the early stages of their careers shape budding research programs. Both Calkins and Pouget are members of the University's Center for Visual Science, one of the foremost research groups in the world for the study of vision.

Calkins is interested in the molecules that shuttle information around the brain, how they work together to deliver information where it's needed, and how genes make possible the network of brain cells required. Calkins joined the University in 1998 and, in addition to the ophthalmology department, is on the faculty of the departments of neurology, and neurobiology and anatomy. He also manages the Medical Center's core facility in electron microscopy imaging.

Across campus, Pouget is studying how the brain sorts out the raw electrical impulses of its cells into signals that other parts of the brain can use to piece together images and see the world. Just as computer scientists understand the insides of a computer, Pouget is part of a new breed of scientists known as "computational neuroscientists," who analyze the brain's circuitry and how it manages information. Pouget, who joined the faculty in 1999, recently received a Young Investigator Award from the Office of Naval Research, providing him with $300,000 toward his research.

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