Three College Alumni Named Sloan Research Fellows

Michael Schatz (M.S. '08, Ph.D. '10, computer science), Andrew Snowden (B.S. ’04, mathematics) and Cole Trapnell (B.S. '05, mathematics, computer science; Ph.D. '10, computer science) receive honor.

Three alumni of the University of Maryland’s College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences received 2015 Sloan Research Fellowships from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Three faculty members from the college also received fellowships.

Michael Schatz, associate professor in Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s Simons Center for Quantitative Biology, Andrew Snowden, assistant professor of mathematics at the University of Michigan, and Cole Trapnell, assistant professor of genome sciences at the University of Washington, were three of 126 outstanding early-career scientists recognized by the foundation this year based on their potential to contribute fundamentally significant research to a wider academic community.

Schatz received his M.S. and Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Maryland in 2008 and 2010, respectively. A quantitative biologist, Schatz applies his quantitative insights to diverse problems, ranging from methods of assembling plant and animal genomes from raw DNA sequencing data to the analysis of large data sets generated in studies of people with diseases such as cancer and autism.

Snowden received his B.S. in mathematics from the University of Maryland in 2004. His research interests include number theory and algebra/algebraic geometry.

Trapnell received B.S. degrees in mathematics and computer science from the University of Maryland in 2005 and his Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Maryland in 2010. He studies stem cells and differentiation, primarily using high-throughput transcriptome sequencing. His lab operates at the interface between genomics and experimental cell biology to answer how cells make fate decisions.

Each 2015 Sloan Research Fellow is awarded a two-year $50,000 grant to support their research interests. The fellowships are awarded in eight scientific and technical fields—chemistry, computer science, economics, mathematics, computational and evolutionary molecular biology, neuroscience, ocean sciences and physics. Candidates must be nominated by their fellow scientists and winning fellows are selected by an independent panel of senior scholars on the basis of a candidate’s independent research accomplishments, creativity and potential to become a leader in his or her field.

Since the beginning of the program, 43 fellows have received a Nobel Prize in their respective field, 16 have won the Fields Medal in mathematics, 65 have received the National Medal of Science, and 14 have won the John Bates Clark Medal in economics, including every winner since 2007.

“The beginning of one’s career is a crucial time in the life of a scientist. Building a lab, attracting funding in an increasingly competitive environment, and securing tenure all depend on doing innovative, original high-quality work and having that work recognized,” said Paul L. Joskow, president of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. “For more than 50 years the Sloan Foundation has been proud to celebrate the achievements of extraordinary young scientists who are pushing the boundaries of scientific knowledge.”

About the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences

The College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences at the University of Maryland educates more than 8,000 future scientific leaders in its undergraduate and graduate programs each year. The college's 10 departments and nine interdisciplinary research centers foster scientific discovery with annual sponsored research funding exceeding $250 million.