Three University of Michigan Faculty Get the Big Phone Call

Sep 20, 2011
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation today named 22 new MacArthur Fellows for 2011 and faculty from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor were a significant presence in the list. 

Tiya Miles, Professor, Department of History; Melanie Sanford, the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Chemistry; and Yukiko Yamashita Assistant Professor, Department of Cell & Developmental Biology at the University of Michigan Medical School were all recipients of this year's "Genius Grants."

The recipients learned, through a phone call out of the blue from the Foundation, that they will each receive $500,000 in no-strings-attached support over the next five years. MacArthur Fellowships come without stipulations or reporting requirements and offer Fellows unprecedented freedom and opportunity to reflect, create, and explore. The unusual level of independence afforded to Fellows underscores the spirit of freedom intrinsic to creative endeavors. The work of MacArthur Fellows knows neither boundaries nor the constraints of age, place, and endeavor.

"This has been a year of great change and extraordinary challenge, and we are once again reminded of the potential individuals have to make a difference in the world and shape our future," said Robert Gallucci, President of the MacArthur Foundation. "The MacArthur Fellows exemplify how individual creativity and talent can spark new insights and ideas in every imaginable field of human endeavor."

Tiya Miles was honored for her work exploring the complex interrelationships between African and Cherokee people living and working in colonial America. Professor Miles earned her doctorate at another CIC university--Minnesota.

Melanie Sanford  is an Organometallic Chemist working on reviving and enhancing approaches to organic synthesis previously set aside because of their technical difficulty.

Yukiko Yamashita is a developmental biologist exploring the biochemical, structural, and molecular genetic mechanisms that regulate stem cell division.


Visit the Fellows page on the web site of the MacArthur Foundation for a full list and expanded profiles of this year's honorees.

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