David Selected for Prestigious Sloan Research Award

June 3, 2014

Durham, NC – Lawrence David, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, has received a 2014 Sloan Research Fellowship, recognizing his work in computational and evolutionary molecular biology and identifying him as among the next generation of scientific leaders. David is among this year’s 126 recipients of the fellowship, which is sponsored by the nonprofit Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Awarded annually since 1955, the highly competitive fellowships are given to “early-career scientists and scholars whose achievements and potential identify them as rising stars,” the foundation said in announcing the awards.

Foundation president Paul L. Joskow said the fellowships are targeted to researchers during the “crucial” stage in their careers when funding and recognition can have a large affect. The 2014 recipients come from 61 colleges and universities in the United States and Canada and represent eight fields of study.

“These researchers are pushing the boundaries of scientific knowledge in unprecedented ways,” Joskow said.

All the honorees were nominated by fellow scientists and selected by an independent panel of senior scholars. Each fellow receives a $50,000 grant to support his or her research.

David’s research program studies the ecological mechanisms stabilizing human-associated microbial communities. Using infectious diseases as model systems, his research combines microbial ecology with high-throughput gene sequencing and computational analysis. An active area of research is the longitudinal study of cholera infections among residents of Dhaka, Bangladesh. Primary research questions include: Can enteric microbial communities predict an individual’s susceptibility to cholera? Why do bacterial ecological successions follow cholera infection? What long-term effects do infection and treatment have on commensal gut microbes? He is also broadly interested in developing new visualization tools for analyzing time-series of complex microbial communities, as well as exploring the ecology of human microbiota in non-Western populations.

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is a philanthropic, not-for-profit grant making institution based in New York City. Established in 1934 by Aflred Pritchard Sloan Jr., then-President and Chief Executive Officer of the General Motors Corporation, the Foundation makes grants in support of original research and education in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and economic performance.