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Hellman program gives $245,000 in grants to 13 assistant professors

By Dave Jones on October 28, 2010 in University News

Thirteen assistant professors are the recipients of research grants totaling $245,000 from the UC Davis Hellman Fellowship Program, as announced recently by Barbara Horwitz, vice provost of Academic Personnel.

The San Francisco-based Hellman Family Foundation has funded the fellowship program annually since 2008, to assist newer faculty members who have promising research plans but lack the stable funding of more established faculty.

"It's an extraordinary opportunity for junior faculty, many of whom will use it as a springboard for future funding," Horwitz said.

Under the guidelines, each grant recipient must have completed at least two years as an assistant professor and submitted a compelling research proposal.

All the foundation asks in return is that the grant recipients meet for lunch in the spring with Warren and Chris Hellman, the philanthropists behind the foundation. Warren Hellman is an investment banker and UC Berkeley alumnus.

The 2010-11 Hellman fellows, their academic units and their research topics:

Heidi Ballard, education — “Communities of Practice in Contested Fields: Examining Social Learning, Collaborative Research and Action Among Rice Growers and Migratory Bird Conservationists in California”

Joy Geng, psychology (Center for Mind and Brain) — “Attention and Probabilistic Learning”

Aldrin Gomes, neurobiology, physiology and behavior — “Predicting the Clinical Phenotype of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Patients with Troponin Mutations”

James Housefield, design — “Marcel Duchamp: Urgent Lessons from (and for) Design”

Delmar Larsen, chemistry — “Breaking the Efficiency Limit for Solar Photovoltaic Devices”

Alison Ledgerwood, psychology — “Psychological Distance and Susceptibility to Social Influences”

Lorena Navarro, microbiology — “Bacterial Virulence Proteins: Powerful Tools to Decipher Human Cell Signaling”

Adrienne Nishina, human and community development — “Exposure to Ethnic Diversity in High School: Compelling Developmental Interests?”

Mika Pelo, music — CD: Music for Strings

Daniel Stolzenberg, history — “Oriental Studies in Early Modern Europe”

Youngsuk Suh, art studio — “The Pale Landscape: Wildfires of the Western United States”

Becca Thomases, mathematics — “Multi-Scale Models of Viscoelastic Fluids”

Dong Yu, physics — “Narrow Bandgap Semiconductor Nanowires for Solar Energy Conversion”

The next round of funding

Horwitz's office announced that the call for 2011-12 Hellman fellowship applications will be sent to deans on Dec. 13, the same day that the award criteria and application form will be posted on the program's website. The deadline for applications will be Feb. 1.


Media contact(s)

Dave Jones, Dateline, 530-752-6556,