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Rochester scientist earns national recognition for research

Adam Snyder, assistant professor of brain and cognitive sciences (University of Rochester photo / J. Adam Fenster)

University of Rochester faculty member Adam Snyder has been named one of this year’s recipients of a Sloan Research Fellowship, a national recognition awarded to young scientists considered to be potential future leaders in the scientific community.

Awarded annually since 1955 by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the fellowships are also designed to recognize independent research accomplishments and creativity. A total of 126 researchers were selected this year for the two-year award, which carries $75,000 in research support.

Snyder, who is an assistant professor of brain and cognitive sciences in the School of Arts & Sciences and holds a joint appointment in the Department of Neuroscience in the School of Medicine and Dentistry, investigates the neural mechanisms that make it possible for the brain to process information. He is specifically trying to understand the neural mechanisms of selective attention, the ability to preferentially process information from the environment that is important for our goals, while blocking out potential distractions.

“Impairments in attention have been associated with a wide range of brain diseases and disorders, and frankly, everyone occasionally pines for better attention abilities,” Snyder says. “Our long-term goal is to develop tools to help people improve their attention abilities so that they may lead improved lives.”

Snyder joined the University in 2018 after having served as a postdoctoral fellow at both Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh. He received his PhD in cognitive neuroscience at the City University of New York under the direction of John Foxe, the Kilian J. and Caroline F. Schmitt Chair in Neuroscience at Rochester and the research director of the Del Monte Neuromedicine Institute.

“When Adam graduated with his PhD from my lab back in 2011 and headed off to Pittsburgh for his postdoc, we all knew he was destined to be a star in the field,” Foxe says. “Little did I realize that we would eventually get to reunite here in Rochester. These Sloan fellowships are incredibly competitive and prestigious, but I’m not a bit surprised that Adam has been chosen.”

Duje Tadin, professor and chair of brain and cognitive sciences, says the award is important recognition of Snyder’s research accomplishments and future potential.

“It’s also a point of pride for the University of Rochester’s large and multidisciplinary neuroscience community, which spans both the River Campus and the School of Medicine and Dentistry,” Tadin says.

In 2019, Snyder received a National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia & Depression (NARSAD) Young Investigator Award from the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation. He has also received the Ripple Promising Investigator Research Award and the Outstanding Paper Award from the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition.

Snyder is the third Rochester faculty member in the last two years to receive Sloan fellowships. Biologist Nancy Chen and chemist Ellen Matson were selected in 2019.

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