Fifteen of America's Most Promising Biomedical Researchers Chosen as Pew Scholars

Fifteen of America's Most Promising Biomedical Researchers Chosen as Pew Scholars

Philadelphia, PA - The Pew Charitable Trusts and the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) announced today that 15 gifted researchers have been selected as 2005 Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences. As a Pew Scholar, each scientist receives a $240,000 award to help support his or her research over a four year period and joins a unique community of scientists that facilitates collaboration and exchange of ideas. The program is funded by the Trusts through a grant to UCSF. “This year opens the third decade of our support of the Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences program and we enter it committed to supporting the crucial role science plays in society,” said Rebecca W. Rimel, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Pew Charitable Trusts. “We are humbled by the accomplishments of the scholars over the past 20 years and the potential their work holds for humankind. Their scientific discoveries have led to advances in the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of diseases and disability and we are pleased that many scholars have also gone on to serve as impassioned advocates for quality science.”

The Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences program was launched in 1985 to provide crucial early support to investigators in the early- to mid-stages of their careers who show outstanding promise in the basic and clinical sciences. While many grants available to scientists have strict guidelines governing how and on what funds must be spent, this award has become coveted for its intended flexibility, as it is designed precisely to enable scientists to take calculated risks, expand their research and follow unanticipated leads. Since 1985, the Trusts has invested more than $100 million to fund nearly 400 scholars.

“Science involves risk-taking and entrepreneurship,” said Rimel, “and we hope that by following their intuition and going where their research leads them, Pew Scholars will be able to make important breakthroughs that will benefit the health of humankind.”

The Pew Scholars selection process is rigorously competitive, as all applicants are highly talented researchers in their fields. Applicants must be nominated by an invited institution (currently there are 136) and must demonstrate excellence and innovation in their research. The scholars are selected by a distinguished national advisory committee, chaired by Dr. Torsten N. Wiesel, president emeritus of Rockefeller University, and a 1981 Nobel laureate. The committee will welcome its newest member, Dr. Roderick MacKinnon, Pew Scholar alumni and 2003 Nobel laureate in chemistry, this fall.

The 2005 Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences are:

Scholar and Institution
Goncalo R. Abecasis, Ph.D.  University of Michigan
Stephen A. Baccus, J.D., Ph.D.  Stanford University
Craig H. Bassing, Ph.D.  The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Laura M. Calvi, M.D.  University of Rochester
Shane P. Crotty, Ph.D. La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology
Jenny E. Gumperz, Ph.D.  University of Wisconsin
Martin W. Hetzer, Ph.D.  The Salk Institute
Karin M. Hoffmeister, Ph.D.  Brigham and Women's Hospital
Deborah A. Hogan, Ph.D. Dartmouth Medical School
Soo-Kyung Lee, Ph.D.  Baylor College of Medicine
Katsuhiko Murakami, Ph.D.  Pennsylvania State University
Franck Polleux, Ph.D. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Thaddeus S. Stappenbeck, M.D., Ph.D.  Washington University in St. Louis
Lambertus Van den Berg, Ph.D.  University of Massachusetts
Rachel I. Wilson, Ph.D.  Harvard University

The Pew Charitable Trusts serves the public interest by providing information, advancing policy solutions and supporting civic life. Based in Philadelphia, with an office in Washington, D.C., the Trusts will invest $204 million in fiscal year 2006 to provide organizations and citizens with fact-based research and practical solutions for challenging issues.

The Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences program is part of a portfolio of projects funded by the Trusts that focuses on science and technology. Other programs include the Science and Society Institute, which trains biomedical scientists so they can effectively contribute to science policy discussions and solutions, and three science policy initiatives that address the benefits and challenges raised by emerging technologies – the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology, the Genetics and Public Policy Center, and the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies.