Aaron Esser-Kahn and Jennifer Prescher, assistant professors of chemistry at UC Irvine, were among 126 researchers from the U.S. and Canada to receive $50,000 awards recently from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Given annually since 1955, the Sloan Research Fellowships honor early-career scientists and scholars whose achievements and potential identify them as rising stars, the next generation of scientific leaders.  Esser-Kahn studies ways to deliver drugs and other therapeutic molecules into heretofore inaccessible regions of mammalian cells. Prescher focuses on the development of chemical tools and noninvasive imaging strategies to probe immune function. “The beginning of a one’s career is a crucial time in the life of a scientist. Building a lab, attracting funding in an increasingly competitive environment, and securing tenure all depend on doing innovative, original high-quality work and having that work recognized,” said Dr. Paul L. Joskow, resident of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. “For more than 50 years the Sloan Foundation has been proud to celebrate the achievements of extraordinary young scientists who are pushing the boundaries of scientific knowledge.”