Statement of Rebecca W. Rimel on the News That a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences Won the 2006 Nobel Prize in Medicine

Statement of Rebecca W. Rimel on the News That a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences Won the 2006 Nobel Prize in Medicine

Philadelphia, PA - "The Pew Charitable Trusts extends our warmest congratulations to Craig C. Mello, Ph.D., on his achievement in winning the Nobel Prize in Medicine. Dr. Mello was selected in 1995 as a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences, receiving support over four years for his research on RNA interference - an investigation that ultimately led to his award-winning discovery. Dr. Mello, a research scientist at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, shares this highest award with Andrew Z. Fire, Ph.D., of Stanford University. "The Trusts is honored to have had the opportunity to support leading investigators like Dr. Mello and many others through the Pew Scholars program. The repeated recognition and impact of their work demonstrates the importance of encouraging scientific entrepreneurship by providing crucial, early support to researchers who are advancing biomedical knowledge.

"We congratulate Dr. Mello and also extend our gratitude for the continuing academic excellence, drive and imagination of all the Pew Scholars working in laboratories around the nation. We applaud their tremendous contribution to expand humanity's knowledge of how our body works. When applied, that knowledge holds unbounded potential to enhance medicine and improve the health and well-being of millions."

About the Pew Scholars Program

The Pew Scholars program is carefully designed to identify and invest in some of America's most promising mid-to-early career researchers. Unlike many traditional research grants with strict guidelines on how funds can be spent, the Pew grants give researchers flexibility in how the money is used, allowing scientists to take calculated risks and follow unanticipated leads to maximize the benefits of their research. Launched by the Trusts in 1985 and administered by the University of California at San Francisco, the initiative today provides scholars with $240,000 over four years and has invested more than $100 million to fund nearly 400 leading researchers. Following a scholar's active funding period, he or she remains part of a vibrant and engaged alumni community that meets regularly to provide professional support and challenge to one another.

Scholars are chosen each year in a rigorously competitive process by an independent selection committee led by Dr. Torsten N. Wiesel, chairman of the Pew Scholars Advisory Committee and a 1981 Nobel Prize laureate in physiology or medicine. Previous Scholars have gone on to win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, the MacArthur Award and the Albert Lasker Medical Research Award.