The Faculty of Science has recruited seven emerging researchers from around the world to its York Science Fellows program. Established thanks to a generous grant from Jim and Marilyn Simons, the program offers premier postdoctoral fellowships to talented, early-career scientists to pursue their research in collaboration with outstanding scientists in the Faculty of Science.
“Our York Science Fellows will not only gain expertise from the breakthrough research carried out in the Faculty of Science, but also enrich York’s collaborative research environment by bringing fresh ideas to the discovery process and pushing the boundaries of science,” said Sylvie Morin, associate dean of research and graduate education in the Faculty of Science.
The new recipients are:
Colin Bridges is an NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His research as a York Science Fellow will focus on redox flow batteries (RFBs), a promising energy storage technology for integrating intermittent renewable energy sources into grid-scale applications. Most current RFBs use solutions of heavy metals, which offer little tunability and are often toxic or environmentally scarce. Working under the supervision of Professor Thomas Baumgartner (Chemistry), Bridges will explore how carbon-based electro-active materials could improve the operating voltage and energy density of RFBs. This research could potentially open up new frontiers for RFBs.
Willam Chen is a postdoctoral fellow at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. His research is in mathematical logic and set theory, with a particular interest in combinatorial questions about singular cardinals. He will work as a York Science Fellow with Professor Paul Szeptycki (Mathematics & Statistics) on questions involving density, mutual stationarity, and applications of the singular cardinal theory outside of logic, such as to general topology, especially in constructing spaces that satisfy certain covering properties.
Dagoberto Contreras is currently completing his PhD at the University of British Columbia. He will be conducting his York Science Fellowship with Professor Matthew Johnson (Physics & Astronomy). Building on data analysis techniques developed during his doctoral research, Contreras will probe data primarily from the cosmic microwave background (CMB) – light from the early universe – to explore the nature of inflation, dark matter, and dark energy. His research could potentially shape future cosmological probes.
John Machacek is currently completing his PhD at Michigan State University. His research involves combinatorial mathematics and its applications in algebra, geometry, physics, and computer science. He focuses on some specific areas of mathematics, such as cluster algebras and Hopf algebras, which he has already been collaborating on with Professor Nantel Bergeron (Mathematics & Statistics). He also has a particular interest in mathematical problems from physics and computer science. He will continue to pursue his research interests as a York Science Fellow working under the supervision of Bergeron.
Ramon Miranda-Quintana is currently a visiting researcher at McMaster University. As a York Science Fellow working under the supervision of Professor René Fournier (Chemistry), Miranda-Quintana will focus on devising methods to understand the behavior of electrons in molecules and materials that have a complicated electronic structure (ie those known as “strongly correlated systems”). Some of these compounds play a vital role in modern chemical research. Miranda-Quintana’s research will have important practical implications, since theorists and experimentalists will have the possibility of rationally designing a new generation of materials, catalysts, and molecular devices with desired features.
Christopher Schafhauser is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Waterloo. His research is focused on the structure and classification of operator algebras; he recently introduced a novel approach to the use of ultrapowers in a classification program for C*-algebras. He is already collaborating with Professor Ilijas Farah (Mathematics & Statistics) and will continue to expand on his research as a York Science Fellow working under the supervision of Professors Farah and Paul Skoufranis (Mathematics & Statistics).
Jacob Lucero is currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Montana. As a York Science Fellow, he will work with Professor Christopher Lortie (Biology) to investigate the processes and mechanisms that drive patterns of biodiversity in ecosystems. Specifically, he will examine interactions between native plants, invasive plants, and herbivores to understand how biological invasions shape biodiversity at local and regional spatial scales. Understanding the causes and consequences of biological invasions is an urgent priority of researchers, conservationists, and governments around the world because invasive species can degrade native biodiversity at staggering ecological and economic costs.
See last year’s recipients of the York Science Fellowships.