Fifteen Researchers Named Pew Scholars, Awarded Unique Opportunity to Expand the Frontiers of Biomedical Science

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Fifteen Researchers Named Pew Scholars, Awarded Unique Opportunity to Expand the Frontiers of Biomedical Science

Philadelphia, PA - Fifteen of the nation's most promising early- to mid-career biomedical researchers were named today as 2006 Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences by The Pew Charitable Trusts and the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF).  Each Pew Scholar will receive $240,000 over four years to undertake research on a biomedical science project of their choosing. Unlike many traditional research grants with strict guidelines on how funds must be used, the Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences program allows recipients flexibility in choosing their research agenda and, in fact, encourages them to become entrepreneurs by taking calculated risks and following unanticipated leads to maximize the benefits their research brings to society.  Previous Scholars have gone on to win the Nobel Prize in chemistry, the MacArthur Award and the Albert Lasker Medical Research Award.

“For more than twenty years, the Pew Scholars have demonstrated that great advances in our understanding of human health can occur when creative and talented individuals are given the opportunity to take risks,” said Rebecca W. Rimel, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Pew Charitable Trusts. “Since beginning this program, we have found that investing in the ideas of the nation's most brilliant scientific minds reaps tremendous returns for society, both from their scientific discoveries and as leading advocates for high-quality research.”

The research to be conducted by this year's class of Pew Scholars includes exploring the role of specific proteins in promoting memory and learning, determining which genes are implicated in diseases like type-2 diabetes and age-related mental decline, and seeking to identify potential new cancer-inhibiting drugs.

“This year's Scholars, like their predecessors, are pushing the scientific frontiers with imagination and discipline,” said Dr. Torsten N. Wiesel, Chairman of the Pew Scholars Advisory Committee and a 1981 Nobel Prize laureate in Physiology or Medicine.  “Who knows what benefit our children and grandchildren will reap from the work of a scholar, which speaks to the power of this investment.”

The Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences program was launched to provide crucial support to researchers in the early- to mid-stages of their careers. Since 1985, the Trusts has invested more than $100 million to fund nearly 400 scholars.

The selection process is rigorously competitive. Applicants must be nominated by an invited institution (currently there are 138) and demonstrate excellence and innovation in their research. Awardees are chosen by a distinguished national advisory committee comprising some of the most highly respected biomedical scientists working today.

The 2006 Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Science are:

  •     José M. Barral, M.D., Ph.D., University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston 
  •     Bartosz A. Grzybowski, Ph.D., Northwestern University  
  •     Gabrielle Kardon, Ph.D., University of Utah   
  •     Raymond J. Kelleher, M.D., Ph.D., Massachusetts General Hospital   
  •     Scott G. Kennedy, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin   
  •     Karen L. Mohlke, Ph.D., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill   
  •     Coleen T. Murphy, Ph.D., Princeton University   
  •     Joseph T. Opferman, Ph.D., St. Jude Children's Research Hospital   
  •     Satchidananda Panda, Ph.D., The Salk Institute   
  •     Kenneth D. Poss, Ph.D., Duke University   
  •     Judd C. Rice, Ph.D., University of Southern California   
  •     Yujiang Shi, Ph.D., Brigham and Women's Hospital   
  •     Sheryl Tsai, Ph.D., University of California, Irvine   
  •     Christopher A. Voigt, Ph.D., University of California, San Francisco   
  •     Ming Zhou, Ph.D., Columbia University

About the Pew Scholars program

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.