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Yuri Pritykin and Huacheng Yu receive junior faculty awards for excellence in research and teaching

Office of Engineering Communications

The School of Engineering and Applied Science has honored Yuri Pritykin and Huacheng Yu with junior faculty awards for early-career excellence in research and teaching. Pritykin is one of three recipients of the E. Lawrence Keys Award, and Yu is one of four recipient of the Howard B. Wentz, Jr. Junior Faculty Award. They are two of seven assistant professors to receive a junior faculty award this year. Each recipient will receive $50,000 to support their research.

Yuri Pritykin. Photo by Sameer Khan/Fotobuddy

Pritykin, an assistant professor of computer science and the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics, is an expert in computational biology. He applies statistics, machine learning and efficient algorithms to investigate cell function and cell-cell interactions, focusing on immunology and cancer. His work has been recognized with an NSF CAREER award (2023) and a New Innovator Award from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (2022).

Prior to joining the Princeton faculty in 2021, Pritykin was a postdoctoral researcher at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. He did his doctoral work at Princeton, completing his Ph.D. in 2014. In his nomination letter, department chair Szymon Rusinkiewicz noted Pritykin’s valuable work in building interdisciplinary connections between computer science and other units on campus, including the Lewis-Sigler Institute and the Omenn-Darling Bioengineering Institute. “Yuri is an exceptional scholar,” Rusinkiewicz said. “He is brilliant and creative and has been addressing challenging and high-impact problems with sophisticated computational approaches.”

Huacheng Yu. Photo by Sameer Khan/Fotobuddy

Yu, an assistant professor of computer science, studies theoretical computer science, particularly the efficiency of data structures and streaming algorithms. Yu’s work investigates the limits of how efficiently problems can be solved, a longstanding area of research in theoretical computer science. In his nomination letter, department chair Szymon Rusinkiewicz noted that Yu’s work has “developed groundbreaking new ideas to resolve long-standing open problems and provide optimal bounds for streaming algorithms.”

Yu joined Princeton as a faculty member in 2021 after completing a doctorate at Stanford and serving as a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard. Earlier this year he received an NSF CAREER award. In addition to his research, Yu received commendations for outstanding teaching from the Engineering School for the past three years as well as perfect teaching evaluations for a graduate course he taught on streaming and sketching algorithms. “Huacheng is a prolific researcher, a universally praised teacher and mentor, and a great departmental citizen,” said Rusinkiewicz. “He strongly embodies the things we look for in junior colleagues in our department.”

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