BUFFALO, N.Y. — Eva Zurek, University at Buffalo assistant
professor of chemistry, has received a Sloan Research Fellowship,
which provides leading early-career investigators with a two-year,
$50,000 award to conduct research of their choice.
The Sloan Research Fellowships aim to “stimulate
fundamental research by early-career scientists and scholars of
outstanding promise,” according to the Alfred P. Sloan
Foundation, which disburses the awards. Fellows, who were notified
of their selection on Feb. 14, were chosen by a committee of
Zurek, PhD, a theoretical chemist, is one of 126 researchers in
the United States and Canada to receive the recognition this
She is a member of UB’s recently designated New York State
Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics, and her work focuses
on using supercomputers to predict the structures and properties of
Particular interests include modeling how organic molecules
interact with the surfaces of metals, and modeling the catalytic
reactions that result in plastics production. This research could
lead to such technological advances as better organic
light-emitting diodes for smartphones and TV screens, and new types
of plastics that possess unique and desirable properties.
Zurek’s research group has also written an algorithm
called XtalOpt that enables users to predict the crystal structures
of materials. The team is using this algorithm to predict
hydrogen-rich compounds that may be superconducting metals
"Dr. Zurek's award recognizes the strength of her research
program and the great potential that other scholars see in her
work," said Alexander N. Cartwright, UB vice president for research
and economic development. "Having joined UB in 2009, Dr. Zurek
exemplifies the energy and research excellence that our newest
faculty members are bringing to the university."
Michael R. Detty, professor and chair of UB’s Department
of Chemistry, said, “We view Dr. Zurek as an emerging leader
in our department — not only scientifically, but in all
aspects of the academic endeavor. Her research in computational
materials prediction is destined to have high impact in materials
research in areas including superconductivity, catalysis, energy
and molecular self-assembly.”
Prior to joining UB, Zurek conducted postdoctoral research at
Cornell University and the Max Planck Institute for Solid State
Research. She holds a PhD from the University of Stuttgart in
Germany and a bachelor’s and master’s of science from
the University of Calgary in Canada.
The computers used by the Zurek research group are stored and
maintained at UB’s state-of-the-art supercomputing facility,
the Center for Computational Research (CCR).
For more information on Zurek’s research program, visit http://www.acsu.buffalo.edu/~ezurek/.