Michael Purugganan named a trustee of NYC research foundation

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation on Purugganan: 'World-class scientist'

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation on Purugganan: ‘World-class scientist’

The Board of Trustees of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has announced the election of two new members to its Board: Dr. Cynthia Barnhart and Dr. Michael Purugganan.

Barnhart is a professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Engineering Systems and associate dean of Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Purugganan is the Dorothy Schiff Professor of Genomics, professor of Biology, and dean for Science at New York University.

“As an organization devoted to supporting original high-quality research, the foundation needs trustees with deep knowledge of the natural sciences, education, engineering, and economics,” said Sandra O. Moose, chair of the Sloan Foundation Board of Trustees. “Dr. Barnhart and Dr. Purugganan are world-class scientists who are uniquely qualified to help advance the Foundation’s mission. I welcome them to the Board and look forward to working with them for many years to come.”

Since receiving her Ph.D. from MIT in 1988, Cynthia Barnhart has become a pioneer in the field of operations research, with a focus on the modeling and optimization of transportation and logistical systems. She has served as co-director of MIT’s Operations Research Center, director of the Transportation@MIT Initiative, co-director of MIT’s Center for Transportation of Logistics, and in 2008, was elected president of INFORMS, the Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences. She also serves as the associate dean of Engineering at MIT and is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

“The Sloan Foundation has a storied history as an ardent supporter of research and education in Science, Technology and Engineering,” said Barnhart. “I am pleased to join a long list of distinguished MIT faculty and administrators who have served on the Board of the Sloan Foundation. I look forward to helping expand the impact of foundation grant making.”

Purugganan is a leading researcher in the field of evolutionary and ecological genomics whose work focuses on the biomolecular mechanisms that underlie evolutionary adaptation in plants. The author of more than 100 articles, Purugganan has received a number of high profile awards in recognition of his research accomplishments, including an Alfred P. Sloan Young Investigator Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Kavli Fellowship, and the Sigma Xi Research Prize. In 2005 he was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

“As a young researcher, I received a Sloan Fellowship, so I know first-hand the difference foundation funding can make in the life of an early-career scientist,” said Purugganan. “To be asked to serve on the foundation’s board and help fund the next generation of researchers is an honor and a privilege.”

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is a philanthropic, not-for-profit grant making institution based in New York City. It is one of the major foundations in the U.S. with an endowment of $1.65 billion.

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