Two faculty members at the University of Rochester have received research fellowships from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Eric T. Kool, assistant professor of chemistry, and Bruce E. Hansen, associate professor of economics, are two of 100 young scientists and economists selected from more than 400 nominees to receive the awards. Sloan fellows each receive $30,000 over two years, money they can use to further their research goals.
Kool is currently working on several projects involving DNA, which holds all of the genetic information for a given organism. Kool designs synthetic DNA, creating a variety of structures that enhance DNA's properties. In one project he is creating DNA molecules that bind to other molecules more tightly than usual, an approach with several possible applications. For instance, if scientists could make a DNA strand that binds to cholesterol molecules (which DNA normally does not do), they might be able to reduce its activity in the body. Kool holds several patents for his work on DNA.
Hansen studies time series theory, which involves data collected over time, such as interest rates or the gross national product. He works on statistical theories for economists and helps them decide what techniques they should use when analyzing data. His work allows economists to better understand long-term relationships between different data.
Sloan fellowships are designed to help young scholars at a time when it can be difficult to obtain other support. The average age of this year's winners is 32. The foundation has supported more than 2,900 researchers, including 17 Nobel prize winners, since the awards began in 1955. rmd