Carnegie Mellon University
April 09, 2020

Jian Ma Wins Guggenheim Fellowship

By Byron Spice

Byron Spice
Virginia Alvino Young

Jian Ma, an associate professor in the Computational Biology Department, is one of 175 scientists, writers, artists and other scholars awarded 2020 Guggenheim Fellowships by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

The latest class of fellows was selected from almost 3,000 applicants based on their prior achievement and exceptional promise, the foundation said.

Ma, who joined Carnegie Mellon University in 2016, will receive funding for his work in developing algorithms to compare genome structure and function in different biological contexts. This subject has been a major body of work in his lab in recent years. For instance, in a paper published in the journal Genome Research in February, Ma and his colleagues described how they took an algorithm used to study social networks and adapted it to identify how DNA and proteins are interconnected into communities within the cell nucleus.

Ma earned his Ph.D. in computer science at Penn State University in 2006. He received his post-doctoral training in the laboratory of David Haussler at the University of California, Santa Cruz, before joining the faculty of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2009. His previous recognitions include a National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 2011. In addition to his appointment in the Computational Biology Department, he is an affiliated faculty member in the Machine Learning Department.

Since its establishment in 1925, the Guggenheim Foundation has granted more than $375 million in fellowships. Scores of fellows have later won such major awards as the Nobel Prize, Turing Award and Field Medal.