Professors receive Sloan fellowship


Aki Akhauri

Prof. Haitham Al-Hassanieh in his room at the Coordinate Science Lab on March 4.

By Tiara Cosby, Staff Writer

Two University professors were chosen for the Sloan Research Fellowship for their research in engineering, out of a total of 126 recipients.

Professors Haitham Al-Hassanieh and Diwakar Shukla both received fellowships provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, which aims “to stimulate fundamental research by early-career scientists and scholars of outstanding promise,” according to its website.

Shukla, an assistant Blue Waters professor in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, said he has been in this field for 12 years.

“In my opinion, the field is easier now than it was before. I now have the opportunity of investigating problems that I never could,” Shukla said.

Al-Hassanieh said he did not expect to win the award and was anxious because most people don’t get the fellowship for their first nomination.

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The Sloan Research Fellowship awards the winning recipients a prize of $70,000, which can be used to the discretion of the winners.

“The money will be used to fund more exciting research projects,” Shukla said. “Projects don’t necessarily have the funding needed, which allows us to put more money into students as well.”

Al-Hassanieh also intends on using the fellowship money as a way to support graduate students in similar fields.

“I would like to hire graduate students to help with research projects and find more solutions to the field,” Al-Hassanieh said.

Both professors have brought new perspectives into their research area. Al-Hassanieh’s work focuses on wiring systems, sensing systems and computer algorithms.

“I have worked on different projects. One is computer algorithms that can signal and extract wireless sequences,” Al-Hassanieh said.

Shukla’s work focuses on understanding complex biological processes by using different models and techniques.

“Some of the best work I have done is bringing new perspectives into a completely new field,” Shukla said. “No one has ever applied these perspectives before.”

Since the Research Fellowships recognize “unique potential and contributions to their field” in scientists, according to the website, many other qualified research scholars anticipated winning this award as well.

“The field of chemistry is so large, with many smaller departments and other related disciplines,” Shukla said. “I know that there were a lot of other people that could get this award and receive this award.”

Shukla and Al-Hassanieh both express their gratitude to the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

“If I could use two words to describe this experience, I would say that I am ecstatic and humbled,” Al-Hassanieh said.

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