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Shruti Puri Named Finalist For Blavatnik Scientists Award

Press Release
09/24/2020

Shruti Puri, a postdoctoral researcher at Yale University, has been named one of the finalists in this year’s Blavatnik Regional Awards for Young Scientists in the “Life Sciences and Engineering” category.

The Blavatnik Family Foundation announced three winners and six finalists on Wednesday, during National Postdoc Appreciation Week.

The Blavatnik Awards honor postdoctoral scientists from academic research institutions in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut in the life sciences, physical sciences & engineering, and chemistry categories.

The three winners are Antonio Fernández-Ruiz in life sciences; Adrian Price-Whelan in physical sciences & engineering; and Ning Jia in chemistry. Each will receive $30,000.

Nominated by New York University, Fernández-Ruiz “has expanded our understanding of how neurons in the brain coordinate their activity to support our ability to form and recall memories,” the foundation said in a press release.

Price-Whelan, nominated by Flatiron Institute, “has unlocked one of the biggest mysteries of the universe—dark matter,” by “innovative use of advanced statistical analysis and computational techniques,” it said.

Chemistry winner Jia, nominated by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center , “has unlocked key biological mechanisms that govern the function of enzymes and CRISPR-Cas systems, such as those used in gene editing,” the release said.

Puri, who will receive $10,000, “was recognized for her extraordinary theoretical discoveries in quantum information storage and quantum computing. In quantum computing systems, error (noise) is an obstacle to accuracy and computational advantage,” the foundation said.

“Puri’s rigorous theoretical and mathematical treatment of error led to the discovery of a completely new way of storing information in microwave photons (quanta of light), known as the Kerr-cat quantum bit,” it said. “Puri’s discovery makes the path towards scalable quantum computing technologies truly possible, by tailoring the errors affecting the quantum bit in such a way that they become relatively easy to correct.”

Puri earned her B. Tech. from the Indian Institute of Technology and PhD from Stanford University.

The Indian American researcher was recently promoted to a tenure-track position at Yale University, which nominated her for the awards.

The winners were selected from 154 nominations from 24 academic institutions in the Tri-State area.

This year’s winners and finalists will be honored alongside the 2021 honorees next year, on September 27, 2021, at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, the release said.



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