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Left-right: headshots of Ronit Freeman, Pedro Sáenz and Nicolas Pégard. The headshots sit on a gray background.

Left to Right: Ronit Freeman, Pedro Sáenz and Nicolas Pégard won awards given to rising stars to support their research.

Three researchers in the College of Arts and Sciences won prestigious awards for early-career scientists this spring.

Nicolas Pégard, an assistant professor in the department of applied physical sciences, and Pedro Sáenz, an assistant professor in the department of mathematics, received Sloan Fellowships.

Ronit Freeman, an associate professor in the department of applied physical sciences, received a Cottrell Scholar Award.

Pégard’s research is at the intersection of neuroscience, optical engineering and computer science. His lab tackles neuroscience research questions with custom-designed optical technology. He will use the Sloan fellowship to develop a new technology called biometric ocular photometers in collaboration with the lab of assistant professor Jose Rodríguez-Romaguera in the department of psychiatry in the School of Medicine.

Sáenz’s work is also interdisciplinary, lying at the intersection of mathematics and fundamental physics. His research focuses on the mathematical description of nonlinear fluid processes to reveal surprising connections between classical mechanics, which describes the familiar behavior of large objects, and quantum mechanics, which describes the strange behavior of tiny particles such as electrons. His lab combines theory, simulations and experiments to better understand fundamental problems in physics and engineering.

Freeman will develop a chemical framework for the bottom-up assembly of supramolecular systems with lifelike behaviors through the Cottrell Award. As an expert in biomimetic design and self-assembly, she will converge the power of peptide and DNA nanotechnology to create new materials that mimic cellular and tissue functionality. She will also develop an educational framework to better interconnect common chemical and physical concepts taught in undergraduate chemistry, physics and materials programs.


Published in the Spring 2023 issue | The Scoop

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