Guggenheim Fellowships for three UC Berkeley faculties

Three UC Berkeley faculty are among this year’s 180 grant recipients from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. The prestigious awards recognize scientists with impressive achievements in fields ranging from the natural sciences to the creative arts.

Guggenheim Fellowship winners receive one-off grants of varying amounts, giving recipients the time and creative freedom to complete their research, books, or other projects. The program was founded in 1925 by US Senator Simon Guggenheim and his wife in memory of their son, John Simon Guggenheim, who died in 1922 at the age of 17.

“Now that the last two years are hopefully behind us all, it is a special pleasure to celebrate the Guggenheim Foundation’s new class of Fellows,” said Edward Hirsch, President of the Guggenheim Foundation, in a press release. “…Our years of experience tell us what impact these annual grants will have in transforming people’s lives. The work supported by the Foundation will support our collective efforts to better understand the new world we are in, where we have come from and where we are going.”

The 2022 scholarship recipients were announced on Thursday (April 7). They were selected from nearly 2,500 applicants across the United States and Canada and include nine scientists from five UC campuses.

Here are the three Berkeley winners:

(Photo by Brittany Hosea-Small)

Jodi Halpern is Professor of Bioethics and Humanities in the UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program. Her work brings together psychiatry, philosophy, affective prediction, and decision science to understand how people imagine and affect their own and others’ future health. She is co-founder and co-chair of the Berkeley Group for the Ethics and Regulation of Innovative Technologies and conducts embedded research with scientists developing new technologies, including gene editing. Her new book project, Engineering Empathy, explores the use of technology in relationships, including the role of robotics in caregiving and the impact of virtual and augmented reality on empathy.

A photo of Osagie Obasogie standing on a wall

(Photo by Darius Riley)

Osagie Obasogie is the Haas Distinguished Chair and Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, with a joint appointment in the UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program. He is a leading expert on the implications of race and inequality in law and medicine, and his scientific interests include constitutional law, policing and the use of police force, bioethics, race and inequality in law and medicine, and reproductive and genetic technologies. Elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2021, Obasogie has received many other awards recognizing his scholarship and student mentoring.

A photo of Michael Pollan standing in front of a wallMichael Pollan, is Professor Emeritus at the Graduate School of Journalism. He is an award-winning journalist who has been researching issues where “the human and natural worlds intersect: on our plates, in our farms and gardens, and in our minds” for over 30 years, and is also a founding fellow of UC Berkeley’s Center for the Science of Psychedelics. Pollan has authored eight books, six of which were New York Times Bestseller. He has won the California Book Award, Northern California Book Award, James Beard Award for Best Food Writing, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. his latest book This is your opinion on plants, examines our relationship to mind-altering plants.

“I’m thrilled and surprised to win a Guggenheim,” Pollan said. “This grant will support a new book project on the quest to understand consciousness, a challenging subject that may be beyond my capacity. So the award is a welcome boost.”

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