Amber Krummel, an assistant professor of chemistry at Colorado State University, has been named a 2015 Sloan Research Fellowship recipient by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
This extremely competitive award is the centerpiece of the Sloan Foundation’s support of the best and brightest young researchers in the country – men and women who are often in their first university appointments.
Established in 1955, the fellowships are intended to “identify those who show the most outstanding promise of making fundamental contributions to new knowledge.” And these investments have been well placed: Over the years, 43 Sloan fellows have gone on to win Nobel Prizes, and hundreds have received other prestigious awards and honors.
Using ultrafast laser spectroscopy, Krummel’s research group a focuses on the very small – including, as a primary subject, pore-forming toxins. PFTs, “the first line of offense for many organisms,” are peptides or proteins that form pores in cell membranes by self-assembling in lipid membranes.
The Krummel group specializes in developing ways to measure these self-assembly processes, including microfluidic technology and ultrafast laser spectrometers that are capable of probing chemical interactions that occur on very fast timescales. The combination of microfluidic technology and spectroscopy puts Krummel in a unique position to probe events early in the self-assembly processes.
Understanding PFTs has many applications, one of which could be developing anti-viral, anti-microbial medications.
“We are extremely proud of Amber and the fantastic science she has been doing,” said Chuck Henry, chair of the Department of Chemistry. “The Sloan award is one of the top awards given to young investigators in science annually, and it puts Dr. Krummel into an elite group.”
A Powerful Fellowship
Grants of $50,000 are provided to the Sloan fellows, who are free to use the funds in a wide variety of ways to further their research aims. For Krummel, this award could facilitate unforeseen discoveries.
“It is a great honor for me to receive a Sloan Research Fellowship,” she said. “This award affirms the directions I have chosen to follow in my research group, and being selected as a Sloan fellow suggests that we are truly pushing new frontiers of research in the field.
“I also realize that I join a special group of people in being named a Sloan fellow, but these things are only possible when one has significant support from colleagues in their department and nationally. I feel very fortunate.”
For those at researchers’ home institutions, these awards suggest promising futures indeed.
“Amber was chosen from a large pool of outstanding young professors from throughout the nation,” said College of Natural Sciences Dean Jan Nerger. “The selection process is rigorous, and this fellowship is given only to the best of the best. With faculty like Dr. Krummel, our students, like students at Harvard, Stanford, and the nation’s other top research universities, have the opportunity to learn directly from the brightest minds and best scholars of their time.”