Salvatore Torquato Named Guggenheim Fellow

June 15, 1998

Salvatore Torquato

Salvatore Torquato, who holds a joint appointment in the Department of Civil Engineering and Operations Research and the Princeton Materials Institute at Princeton University, has been named a Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Torquato is also a member of the associated faculty in the Program in Applied and Computational Mathematics at Princeton.

The foundation, which was established in 1925 by Senator Simon Guggenheim and his wife, offers fellowships that further the development of artists and scholars by allowing them to work in any of the arts or to do research in any field of knowledge, with few restrictions. The foundation awards fellowships on the basis of unusually impressive achievement in the past and exceptional promise for future accomplishment.

The awards process is highly competitive: The 1998 selection committee, drawing on recommendations from panels and juries involving hundreds of distinguished artists, scholars, and scientists, chose 168 fellows from among 3,014 applicants. This year's awards totaled $5,376,000.

Torquato will use the award to spend the coming academic year at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. His research project, "Biological Materials and Growth Processes," will focus on the mathematical modeling of nonlinear growth in malignant brain tumors.

Currently, Torquato reports, the growth behavior of brain tumors is barely detectable because of the large numbers of parameters in basically all in-vitro/vivo experimental settings; however, he explains, the use of adaptive theoretical in vivo models, fed by novel experimental data, could lead to new insights in the growth behavior of brain tumors.

Torquato imagines using such models clinically (in the treatment of specific patients who have undergone stereotactic biopsy and culturing, for example), in combination with the already available neuro-navigation systems for simulation of primary/secondary tumor growth/recurrence, to predict the outcome of treatment. He will collaborate on the project with Thomas S. Deisboeck, MD, of the Molecular Neuro-Oncology Laboratory and the MGH Brain Tumor Center at Harvard Medical School.

Torquato will also use his sabbatical time to complete a research monograph, "Random Heterogenous Materials." Jin-Yi Cai, a professor of computer science and the director of graduate studies at the State University of New York at Buffalo, was also named a Guggenheim fellow for work in computational complexity theory, as was Princeton's Demetrios Christodoulou, a mathematics professor, for his work on black holes and space-time singularities.

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