The University of Pennsylvania’s Edgar Dobriban, Robyn E. Sanderson, and Ben Scholl have been selected to receive a 2023 Sloan Research Fellowship, which recognizes early-career scientists in North America. They are among 126 Fellows, researchers chosen from more than 1,000 nominees. Each winner receives a two-year, $75,000 research fellowship.
Edgar Dobriban is an assistant professor in the Department of Statistics and Data Science at the Wharton School, with a secondary appointment in Computer and Information Science in the School of Engineering and Applied Science. His research interests include the statistical analysis of large datasets and the foundations of machine learning. Specifically, his research spans uncertainty quantification for machine learning, invariance, fairness, and large-scale multivariate analysis, scalable inference via random projections, both using random matrix theory. Dobriban’s work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, Office of Naval Research, and Simons Foundation. He is also the recipient of the Bernoulli Society New Researcher Award 2023, a junior research award from the International Chinese Statistical Association in 2022, and an NSF CAREER award in 2021.
Robyn E. Sanderson is an assistant professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy in the School of Arts & Sciences. Her research is concerned with methods to infer the distribution of dark matter in galaxies. Through the study of how stars and gas orbit in galaxies under the laws of gravity, especially in the outskirts of galaxies where dark matter produces most of the gravitational force, her lab is able to test theories of dark matter and galaxy formation. Sanderson’s group maintains several public datasets that provide astronomers with tools for directly comparing real surveys of the Milky Way’s stars to simulations of similar galaxies emerging from the cosmic web. Sanderson also is an affiliate scientist in the Center for Computational Astrophysics at the Flatiron Institute.
Benjamin Scholl is an assistant professor in the Department of Neuroscience at the Perelman School of Medicine. His research focuses on the synaptic connections between neurons, studying the development and dysfunction of this functional connectivity in multiple animal models. Scholl’s work has consistently challenged commonly held principles in neuroscience, paving the way for new ideas. Scholl has authored or co-authored more than 30 journal articles and received several awards for his science.
Awarded this year to 126 early-career scientists across the United States and Canada, the Sloan Research Fellowships are among the most competitive awards available to researchers. Since the first Sloan Research Fellowships were awarded in 1955, 129 faculty from Penn have received them.
Open to scholars in chemistry, computer science, Earth system science, economics, mathematics, neuroscience, and physics, the Sloan Research Fellowships are awarded in coordination with the scientific community. Candidates must be nominated by fellow scientists, and winners are selected by independent panels of senior scholars based on a candidate’s research accomplishments, creativity, and potential to become leaders in their fields.