Aye, Mimno receive Sloan Foundation Fellowships

Cornell assistant professors Yimon Aye and David Mimno have been named recipients of fellowships from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, which supports early career faculty members’ original research and broad-based education related to science, technology and economic performance.

Aye is the Howard Milstein Fellow and an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, as well as from the Department of Biochemistry at Weill Cornell Medicine. Mimno is in the Department of Information Science.

“Getting early career support can be a make-or-break moment for a young scholar,” said Paul L. Joskow, president of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. “In an increasingly competitive academic environment, it can be difficult to stand out, even when your work is first-rate. The Sloan Research Fellowships have become an unmistakable marker of quality among researchers.”

Candidates must be nominated by peers and are selected by an independent panel of senior scholars. Fellows receive $55,000 over two years to further their research.

Aye’s lab focuses on developing chemistry-driven methods in chemical biology, with the goals of understanding biochemistry and cellular biology of electrophile signaling pathways. Her group has recently introduced a novel light-driven chemical technology, known as T-REXTM (targetable reactive electrophiles and oxidants), that enables on-demand flipping of specific reduction/oxidation (redox) events – in general, the transfer of electrons between chemical species – present in nearly every aspect of life. This work has implications in both basic science and the pharmaceutical industry, and has the potential for paradigm-shifting understanding of how tissue-scale redox response influences developmental signaling.

Mimno will create new tools to help scholars use the tens of millions of books scanned and digitized by Google and the Internet Archive from university libraries.

By analyzing the text of documents, a computer can identify the topic of the work, so computers could identify and collect articles on the same subject, or track how attitudes toward a subject have changed over time. Solutions to this problem exist, but do not scale to large collections and cannot be used reliably by non-specialists.

Mimno plans to expand its capabilities to deal with the vast amount of data now available, and is collaborating with sociologists, historians and literary scholars to make computational approaches an organic part of their practice.

The Sloan Foundation was established in 1934 by Alfred Pritchard Sloan Jr., then-president and chief executive officer of General Motors.

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Melissa Osgood