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Chemist Michael Neidig awarded Sloan Fellowship

April 14, 2015

Michael NeidigMichael Neidig, an assistant professor of chemistry, has been recognized as a “rising star” by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Neidig is one of 126 U.S. and Canadian researchers selected as recipients of Sloan Research Fellowships for 2015.

“I’m both honored and inspired by the value that experts in the scientific community find in our research,” said Neidig.

Neidig is working to better understand carbon-carbon bond-forming reactions, as well as catalysis in which carbon-hydrogen bonds are broken and other molecules replace the hydrogen atoms. One objective of Neidig’s work is to develop ways to replace expensive and toxic precious metals as a catalyst in the making of pharmaceuticals.

“Scientists have already shown that iron can be an excellent catalyst in these reactions,” said Neidig. “But we still lack a detailed molecular-level understanding of how these reactions work with iron, which is a significant challenge in moving this field forward.”

“The beginning of one’s career is a crucial time in the life of a scientist. Building a lab, attracting funding in an increasingly competitive environment, and securing tenure all depend on doing innovative, original high-quality work and having that work recognized,” said Dr. Paul L. Joskow, President of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. “For more than 50 years the Sloan Foundation has been proud to celebrate the achievements of extraordinary young scientists who are pushing the boundaries of scientific knowledge.”

The Sloan Foundation awards the fellowships to stimulate fundamental research by early career scientists and scholars who show great promise in their fields.

Neidig earned his Ph.D. in chemistry at Stanford University and his M.Phil. in chemistry at the University of Cambridge in the U.K. He worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory before joining the Department of Chemistry faculty at the University of Rochester in 2011. Earlier this year, Neidig was honored by the National Science Foundation with a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award, given to promising scientists in recognition of their “outstanding research” and ability to integrate “education and research.”

Administered and funded by the Sloan Foundation, the fellowships are awarded in eight scientific fields—chemistry, computer science, economics, mathematics, evolutionary and computational molecular biology, neuroscience, ocean sciences, and physics.  Winners are selected through close cooperation with the scientific community.  To qualify, candidates must first be nominated by their fellow scientists and are subsequently selected by an independent panel of senior scholars.  Each fellow receives $50,000 over two years to help further his or her research.

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Category: Science & Technology

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