USC faculty members selected for Sloan Foundation grant

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has selected four USC faculty members, Christoph Haselwandter, Dion Dickman, Jernej Barbič and Jennifer Garrison, to serve as research fellows for 2014.

These four people are among the 126 researchers from the United States and Canada who were selected to the fellowships, which will provide them with a two-year, $50,000 fellowship award.

More than 700 people are nominated each year for the Sloan fellowships, and the committee looks for people who have shown the potential to be forerunners in the scientific community through their accomplishments. 42 prior fellows have won the Nobel Prize, while 63 have received the National Medal of Science.

Haselwandter, of the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences, works as an assistant professor of astronomy and physics. He is currently doing research on cell membranes and their channels, but he is also training in theoretical physics, utilizing new scientific advances to better understand the physical principles that allow for the proliferation of living cells.

Dickman, also of the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences, is a neuroscientist who is studying the development of synapses. He plans on using his fellowship to develop new ways to see synaptic activity and plasticity.

Barbič, of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, works as an assistant professor of computer science, and was previously names one of the “35 Innovators Under 35” by the MIT Technology Review. His current research studies animation, sound, haptics and computer graphics.

Garrison, of the USC Davis School of Gerontology, as well as the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, is conducting research on neuropeptides, molecules that neurons use to send messages to each other. She wants to study use the grant to specifically look at the effect that neuropeptides have on aging.