Press Release

Pew Names 22 Top Scientists as Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences


PHILADELPHIA—The Pew Charitable Trusts today named 22 promising early-career researchers as Pew scholars in the biomedical sciences.

The recipients join the ranks of more than 600 outstanding scientists who have been selected as Pew scholars in the 30 years since the program’s inception and whose careers have been dedicated to bold scientific discoveries. Many Pew scholars have also been recognized with prestigious awards, including the Nobel Prize, the Shaw Prize, and the Lasker Award.

Scholars in the 2015 class will investigate a range of topics from examining the role the microbiome, the naturally occurring microorganisms in the human body, plays in combating autoimmune disease to exploring the molecules and neural circuits that dictate a mosquito’s preference for humans over other animals, which has implications in preventing the spread of dengue fever.

"This new class of remarkable scientists is emblematic of all that is unique, exciting, and compelling about this initiative," said Rebecca W. Rimel, Pew’s president and CEO. "We are proud to provide a launching pad for the adventurous minds represented here, who will surely advance the field of biomedical science and create a healthier world for all of us."

The program provides four years of flexible funding to scholars at the assistant professor level. Scientists are nominated for their dedication to pursing the high-risk, high-reward research that can lead to extraordinary findings in bioscience.

"The importance of encouraging scientific creativity and curiosity has never been clearer," said Craig C. Mello, Ph.D., a 1995 Pew scholar, 2006 Nobel laureate in physiology or medicine, and chair of the national advisory committee for the scholars program. "Pew scholars have harnessed the potential of this program for three decades, coming together to inspire and engage each other while advancing the biomedical research landscape. This year’s class will no doubt continue that tradition."

Pew biomedical scholars gain entrée into a robust community of researchers, including Pew’s Latin American fellows and Pew-Stewart Scholars for Cancer Research—the 2015 classes of which were also announced today. All gather yearly to share their findings and spur new lines of inquiry that lead to partnerships and collaborations that can extend for years.

The 2015 Pew scholars in the biomedical sciences are:

Theresa Alenghat, V.M.D., Ph.D.
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

Nicola J. Allen, Ph.D.
Salk Institute for Biological Studies
Molecular Neurobiology

Brenda Bloodgood, Ph.D.
University of California, San Diego
Biological Studies and Neurobiology

Jesse Bloom, Ph.D.
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Basic Sciences and Computational Biology

Michael S. Cohen, Ph.D.
Oregon Health and Science University
Physiology and Pharmacology

Kimberly Cooper, Ph.D.
University of California, San Diego
Cell and Developmental Biology

Aaron P. Esser-Kahn, Ph.D.
University of California, Irvine

Gianna E. Hammer, Ph.D.
Duke University

Michael J. Harms, Ph.D.
University of Oregon
Chemistry and Biochemistry

Christian M. Kaiser, Ph.D.
Johns Hopkins University

Daniel J. Kronauer, Ph.D.
The Rockefeller University
Insect Social Evolution

Marcus Kronforst, Ph.D.
University of Chicago
Ecology and Evolution

Polina V. Lishko, Ph.D.
University of California, Berkeley
Molecular and Cell Biology

Qin Liu, Ph.D.
Washington University
Anesthesiology, Opthalmology, and Visual Sciences

Carolyn S. McBride, Ph.D.
Princeton University
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Nima Mesgarani, Ph.D.
Columbia University
Electrical Engineering

Douglas Millay, Ph.D.
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
Molecular Cardiovascular Biology

Clarissa J. Nobile, Ph.D.
University of California, Merced
Molecular and Cell Biology, Quantitative and Systems Biology

Gary J. Patti, Ph.D.
Washington University
Chemistry and Genetics

Robert J. Schmitz, Ph.D.
University of Georgia

Joshua J. Woodward, Ph.D.
University of Washington

Ke Xu, Ph.D.
University of California, Berkeley

Visit the program page to read the scholars’ full abstracts and learn more about the program.


The Pew Charitable Trusts is driven by the power of knowledge to solve today’s most challenging problems. Learn more at