Five UChicago scholars awarded prestigious Sloan Fellowships in 2024

Five University of Chicago scholars have earned prestigious Sloan Research Fellowships, which recognize early-career scholars’ potential to make substantial contributions to their fields. The 2024 Sloan fellows from UChicago include Wilma A. Bainbridge, Kilian Huber, Yuehaw Khoo, Chong Liu and Sunyoung Park.

Awarded since 1955 to the brightest young scientists across the United States and Canada, the two-year Sloan Fellowships are one of the most competitive and prestigious awards available to early-career researchers. This year’s winners, announced Feb. 20, will receive two-year fellowships in the amount of $75,000 to further their innovative research.

Learn more about this year’s winners:

Wilma A. Bainbridge is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology.

Her research focuses on the cognitive neuroscience of perception and memory, looking at how certain items are intrinsically more memorable than others.

She finds that there are certain images—photographs and even faces—that are remembered by most people, and some that are globally forgotten.

In her Brain Bridge Lab, she uses behavioral experiments, computer vision, machine learning, online studies, and functional MRI to understand what makes an item intrinsically memorable, and how the brain processes these items differently.

She also explores the visual content of memories, using drawings and functional MRI to decode memory content.

She received her B.A. in cognitive science from Yale University and her Ph.D. in brain and cognitive sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

She then completed postdoctoral training at the National Institute of Mental Health before coming to UChicago in 2020.

Kilian Huber is an associate professor of economics at the Booth School of Business.

Huber studies the interaction between the financial sector and the real economy as well as the propagation of shocks across different parts of the economy.

In his research, he has analyzed how the structure and health of banks affects firm growth, how firms react to interest rate and asset price fluctuations, how connections between different industries and regions shape macroeconomic growth, and how discriminatory ideologies harm firms.

He received a Ph.D. from the London School of Economics.

Additionally, he earned a master of research in economics, a master of science in economics, and a bachelor of science in economics from the London School of Economics.

Prior to joining Booth, Huber was the Saieh Family Fellow in Macroeconomics at the Becker Friedman Institute of the University of Chicago.

Yuehaw Khoo is an assistant professor in the Department of Statistics.

He is also a member of the Committee on Computational and Applied Mathematics and a Data Sciences Institute-affiliated scholar.

He works on developing computational and data-driven techniques for problems in physical and biological sciences.

In particular, he develops methods for many-body physics, protein structure determination from NMR spectroscopy, and Cryo-EM.

He is interested in techniques based on convex and non-convex optimization, and tensor-network and neural-network methods.

He obtained his PhD degree in the Department of Physics at Princeton University and bachelor's degree from the University of Virginia.

Prior to joining UChicago, he was a postdoc at Stanford University.

Chong Liu is a Neubauer Family Assistant Professor of Molecular Engineering at the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering.

Her research focuses on design and synthesis of materials as well as development of electrochemical and optical tools to address the challenges in water-energy nexus. This includes resource extraction from water systems, separation in liquid and gas phases, and catalysis.

Her group studies phenomena that span enormous length scales from molecular interaction to mass transport.

The Liu Group’s work aims to develop advanced characterization tools to understand and correlate the materials microscopic properties to macroscopic performance.

Liu has received the Department of Energy’s Early Career Research Program award and has been named a 2023 Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar.

She received her PhD in materials science and engineering at Stanford University in 2015 and her BS in chemistry from Fudan University. From 2015 to 2018, Liu was a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University.

She joined the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering in 2018.

Sunyoung Park is an assistant professor in the Department of the Geophysical Sciences.

As a geophysicist, her goal is to understand the Earth’s dynamics by examining earthquake processes and the Earth’s internal structure.

Her research covers a wide range of topics in seismology and geodesy, including earthquake rupture, deep (~600-km) earthquakes, the Earth's shallow and deep viscoelastic structure, and seismic hazard assessment.

She focuses on the development of novel analytical and experimental approaches, which includes utilizing 3D printing for the first time to build physical models of the Earth for performing seismic experiments.

Park received her Ph.D. from Harvard University and her undergraduate degree from Seoul National University. She was a postdoctoral scholar at Harvard and the California Institute of Technology before joining the UChicago faculty in 2021.