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Researchers win Furth Fund awards to support early career scientists

April 16, 2018
Kathryn Knowles and Martina PolettiKathryn Knowles, assistant professor of chemistry, and Martina Poletti, assistant professor of neuroscience. (University of Rochester photos)

Kathryn Knowles, assistant professor of chemistry, and Martina Poletti, assistant professor of neuroscience, are this year’s recipients of University Furth Fund awards.

The Furth Fund, established through the generosity of Valerie and Frank Furth, provides early career scientists with $10,000 in research funds. The funds are used to promote the research activities of the faculty member, which may include the purchase of new equipment or support for graduate students or postdocs.

Research in the Knowles group focuses on studying the fundamental optical, electronic, and chemical properties of transition metal oxide nanocrystals and thin films. The inexpensive and nontoxic composition of these materials, their ability to absorb sunlight, and their stability to electrochemical degradation make them ideal candidates for applications in solar energy conversion and energy storage technologies. Knowles “is on track to become a prominent researcher in materials chemistry,” says Todd Krauss, professor and chair of the department.  Learn more about the Knowles Lab.

Poletti studies the “finely orchestrated interplay between sensory processing, the control of motor behavior, and the allocation of attentional resources” in enabling visual perception. She has a particular interest in fine spatial vision processes in the foveola—a small, high-acuity region of the retina that humans use to inspect objects of interest. Foveal vision is fundamental for normal functioning, yet surprisingly little is known about its mechanisms.

Poletti is an “innovative researcher with an early and strong publication track record,” says John Foxe, director of the Ernest J. Del Monte Institute for Neuroscience. He adds that her work “complements well the research programs of fellow faculty members.”


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Category: University News