Six University of Chicago researchers named 2023 Sloan Fellows

Promising early-career scholars in economics, physics, and computer science honored

Six University of Chicago researchers have earned prestigious Sloan Research Fellowships, which recognize early-career scholars’ potential to make substantial contributions to their fields.

This year’s UChicago winners range from an astrophysicist studying the extreme conditions in space to an economist researching the effects of social insurance and public assistance programs to a computer scientist working on human-centered AI and natural language processing.

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. 15, will receive two-year fellowships in the amount of $75,000 to further their innovative research.

Clay Córdova is a theoretical physicist working on quantum field theory, a unifying framework encompassing phenomena at a vast range of distance scales. His research is focused on the mathematical theory of symmetry and phases of matter which governs the way microscopic constituents, such as quarks and gluons, can manifest collective behavior, such as color confinement into mesons and baryons.

His work has involved aspects of particle physics, condensed matter physics, and quantum gravity, as well as related topics in mathematics.

Córdova is a member of the Enrico Fermi Institute and the Kadanoff Center for Theoretical Physics. He holds a PhD in physics from Harvard University. Prior to coming to UChicago, he was a Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows and a long-term member at the Institute for Advanced Study.

Manasi Deshpande is an assistant professor of economics at the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics. 

Her research areas are empirical public finance and labor economics, with a focus on the effects of social insurance and public assistance programs and their interaction with labor markets.

Alex Imas is an Associate Professor of Behavioral Science and Economics and a Vasilou Faculty Scholar at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, where he has taught Negotiations and Behavioral Economics. 

He is an NBER Faculty Research Fellow and a CESifo Research Network Fellow. Previously, he was the William S. Dietrich II Assistant Professor of Behavioral Economics at Carnegie Mellon University, where he taught Behavioral Economics and Human Judgment and Decision Making.

Imas’ research spans a variety of topics across economics and psychology. He has explored the role of systemic factors and incorrect beliefs in discrimination, the prevalence of behavioral biases amongst expert and non-expert investors, and how to better motivate performance by incorporating psychology into incentives. His research has been published in the American Economic Review, Journal of Finance, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Quarterly Journal of Economics, and Management Science, among others.

Yueran Ma is an associate professor of finance and a Kathryn and Grant Swick Faculty Scholar at the Booth School of Business. 

Ma’s main research interest is empirical studies at the intersection of finance and macroeconomics. Her work covers topics including debt contracts and macroeconomic implications, assets and production activities of nonfinancial firms, low interest rates and financial markets, and expectations in finance and macroeconomics. She has also worked on questions in real estate and urban economics. She received a B.A. summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in Applied Mathematics, and Ph.D. in Business Economics from Harvard University.

Chenhao Tan is an assistant professor of computer science at the University of Chicago, and is also affiliated with the Harris School of Public Policy. His research interests include human-centered AI, natural language processing, and computational social science. 

His work has been covered by many news media outlets, such as the New York Times and the Washington Post. He also won an NSF CAREER award, an NSF CRII award, a Google research scholar award, research awards from Amazon, IBM, JP Morgan, and Salesforce, a Facebook fellowship, and a Yahoo! Key Scientific Challenges award. 

He obtained his PhD degree in the Department of Computer Science at Cornell University and bachelor's degrees in computer science and in economics from Tsinghua University. Prior to joining the University of Chicago, he was an assistant professor at the University of Colorado Boulder and a postdoc at the University of Washington. 

Irina Zhuravleva is a Clare Boothe Luce assistant professor in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Zhuravleva’s research focuses on energetic phenomena within clusters of galaxies - the largest and most massive objects in the Universe. She uses these unique astrophysical laboratories to explore plasma physics, including turbulence and transport properties of the intracluster medium, energetic feedback from supermassive black holes, and the evolution of the Large Scale Structure. 

She is a NASA Participating Scientist for an upcoming satellite project known as XRISM (X-ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission - a collaborative effort of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and NASA with European Space Agency participation), planned for launch later this spring. 

Zhuravleva holds a Ph.D. from the Ludwig-Maximilian University and Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Germany. Prior to coming to UChicago, she was a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University.