Three Penn faculty named 2020 Sloan Research Fellows

Engineer Liang Feng, neuroscientist Erica Korb, and statistician Weijie Su each received the competitive and prestigious award honoring early-career researchers.

liang feng, erica korb, and weijie su headshots

Liang Feng of the School of Engineering and Applied Science, Erica Korb of the Perelman School of Medicine, and Weijie Su of the Wharton School are among the 126 recipients of the 2020 Sloan Research Fellowship. The award recognizes early-career researchers and scholars in the United States and Canada, and each recipient will receive a two-year, $70,000 Fellowship for their research.

Feng is an assistant professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering. His expertise is at the intersection of nanomaterials and photonics, with an eye toward applications in computer and communication systems. By exploring quantum symmetry to design materials that can generate photons with properties necessary for their use as a carrier of information, or efficiently route them from place to place on a photonic computer chip, Feng aims to develop the circuit architecture necessary for the next generation of sensing, computational, and communication technologies.

Korb is an assistant professor in the Department of Genetics. Her lab works at the intersection of neuroscience and epigenetics, studying how the environment can influence gene expression in neurons in ways that enable humans to learn and adapt. Her research is focused on chromatin, the complex of DNA and histone proteins which package DNA into complex structures, and on how chromatin regulates neuronal function and neurodevelopmental disorders.

Su is an assistant professor in the Department of Statistics. He works with high-dimensional statistics, deep-learning theory, machine-learning optimization, and privacy protection. Su is also the co-director of the Penn Research in Machine Learning forum, a joint effort between Engineering and Wharton that connects the large and diverse machine-learning community at Penn. He is also a recipient of the 2019 National Science Foundation CAREER award, which recognizes early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in both research and education.  

Since the first Sloan Research Fellowships were awarded in 1955, 120 faculty from Penn have received Sloan Research Fellowships.

Candidates must be nominated by their fellow scientists and winning Fellows are selected by independent panels of senior scholars on the basis of research accomplishments, creativity, and potential to become a leader in their field.