Associate Professor of biology Sophie Caron is a 2023 awardee. The University of Utah Presidential Scholar Award supports the work of exceptionally promising mid-career faculty in academic units across campus by providing $10,000 in funding each year for three years to the award winners.
In addition to Caron, an internationally prominent neuroscientist, other awardees include a top researcher in prosthetics, an expert in environmental health and public health challenges and a distinguished leader in the field of chronic diseases in vulnerable populations have been selected as the 2023 cohort of Presidential Scholars. The associate professors will receive this designation for three years.
The Presidential Scholar award supports the work of exceptionally promising mid-career faculty in academic units across campus by providing $10,000 in funding each year for three years to the award winners. The funds — made possible by support from a private donor — may be used to support scholarly, teaching and outreach activities. Up to four new Presidential Scholar Awards are made each year.
Former Mario Capecchi Endowed Chair, Caron uses cutting-edge techniques to tackle fundamental questions about perception. In order to understand how brains are built to learn, she uses the Drosophila mushroom body as a model system. She built an interdisciplinary research program by drawing on computational models, species-comparative studies and various anatomical, functional and behavioral techniques to elucidate the structural, functional and evolutionary pressures that shape the mushroom’s learning function. For her work, Caron has received an NSF CAREER award and two NIH R01 awards, totaling $4.5 million. In addition to her research, Caron designed and regularly teaches the popular cellular neurobiology class (BIOL 3240) which regularly attracts nearly 100 enrollments per semester. Her work has been described as “stunning” and “breathtaking” by colleagues at outside institutions.
In addition to Caron, the 2023 winners include Nancy Allen, associate professor in the College of Nursing; Tommaso Lenzi, associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering in the John and Marcia Price College of Engineering; and Neng Wan, associate professor in the Department of Geography in the College of Social and Behavioral Science.
“These educators represent the cutting-edge work on this campus that can impact our world for the better,” said Mitzi Montoya, senior vice president for academic affairs. “I’m grateful for their contributions and pleased to recognize their research.”
Read the full article about all four awardees in @TheU.