Newswise — PHILADELPHIA – Shinjae Chung, PhD, an assistant professor of Neuroscience, and Iain Mathieson, PhD, an assistant professor of Genetics, both from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, have been awarded highly competitive 2018 Sloan Research Fellowships.

They are among 126 new recipients of the award, which dates to 1955. The fellowship recognizes “early-career scholars [who] represent the most promising scientific researchers working today. Their achievements and potential place them among the next generation of scientific leaders in the U.S. and Canada.” Fellowships are given in eight scientific and technical fields: economics, chemistry, computational and evolutionary molecular biology, computer science, mathematics, neuroscience, ocean sciences, and physics.

Chung, whose fellowship is in neuroscience, studies the neural circuits that underlie sleep and emotional brain function. Her goal is to identify the molecular and neural mechanisms controlling sleep and to understand how these are connected with the neural circuits regulating emotional states in health and disease. In these efforts she employs a multi-disciplinary approach including optogenetics (the use of light to control neural activity in the brain), electrophysiology, microendoscopic calcium imaging, virus-mediated circuit mapping, and gene profiling. These techniques help scientists to understand how neurons in the brain communicate with each other and how their activity shapes the global brain state and behavior. Chung has been first author of research published in such journals as Nature, Nature Neuroscience, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of Sciences.

She received her undergraduate degree in life sciences and biotechnology from Korea University in Seoul and her doctorate in pharmacology and developmental and cell biology from the University of California, Irvine.  She completed postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, Berkley.


Ian Mathieson, PhD

Mathieson, whose fellowship is in computational and evolutionary molecular biology, is a population geneticist. His research aims to learn about human genetic structure and its relationship to history, evolution and disease. Using computational tools and genomic data from both ancient and present-day people, he investigates demographic history (the historical movements and relationships between populations), the effects of natural selection, and the interpretation of association studies (which identify genes and variants that occur more frequently in people with certain diseases). His most recent work used ancient DNA to investigate the genomic history of Europe, and the effect of natural selection on the human genome during the transition from a hunter-gatherer to an agricultural lifestyle.

He received his undergraduate degree in mathematics and master’s degree in statistical science from Cambridge University and his doctorate in genomic medicine and statistics from Oxford University, before completing a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University.

Fellowship recipients receive $65,000, which may be spent over a two-year period on expenses that support their research. To qualify, candidates must be nominated by their peers and selected by an independent panel of senior scholars. In the 63 years since the program began, 45 Sloan fellows have earned Nobel Prizes and 69 have received the National Medal of Science, among numerous other professional recognitions.

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation was established in 1934 by Alfred P. Sloan, Jr., then-president and chief executive officer of General Motors. Its programs and interests include science and technology, standards of living, economic performance, and education and careers in science and technology.

Penn Medicine is one of the world’s leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $7.8 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 20 years, according to U.S. News & World Report’s survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation’s top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $405 million awarded in the 2017 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System’s patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center — which are recognized as one of the nation’s top “Honor Roll” hospitals by U.S. News & World Report — Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Medicine Princeton Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital – the nation’s first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine, and Princeton House Behavioral Health, a leading provider of highly skilled and compassionate behavioral healthcare.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2017, Penn Medicine provided $500 million to benefit our community.

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