Pew Awards 22 Promising Biomedical Researchers Funding to Advance Human Health

Pew Awards 22 Promising Biomedical Researchers Funding to Advance Human Health

PHILADELPHIA—Today, The Pew Charitable Trusts announced 22 exceptional early-career researchers as Pew scholars in the biomedical sciences. Each scholar will receive four years of flexible funding to pursue foundational research.

“Pew is proud to support these investigators as they use novel approaches to illuminate the mechanisms of human biology and disease,” said Rebecca W. Rimel, president and CEO of The Pew Charitable Trusts. “This impressive group has demonstrated the curiosity and courage that drive great scientific advances, and we are excited to help them fulfill their potential.”

The 2017 scholars—all of whom hold assistant professor positions—join a thriving community of more than 900 biomedical scientists who have received awards from Pew since 1985. Each year, current scholars come together to discuss their research and learn from peers in fields outside of their own.

“Innovation is critical for scientists trying to crack some of the toughest questions in human health,” 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’s biomedical programs not only provide young scientists with the flexibility to pursue creative ideas; they also spark interdisciplinary thinking and collaborations that can open new paths in the search for answers.”

The scholars are chosen from nominations made by some 180 leading academic and research institutions. This year’s class includes scientists using cutting-edge techniques to study the factors controlling gene expression, the behavior of our brains’ neurons, and communication among the various bacteria in our bodies. Better understanding of such fundamental processes will lay important groundwork for potential treatments of neurological disorders, kidney disease, and other illnesses.

Five members of the 2017 class of scholars will receive awards with support from the Kathryn W. Davis Peace by Pieces Fund. They were selected for their commitment to investigating health challenges in the brain as it ages.

The 2017 Pew scholars in the biomedical sciences are:

Mohamed S. Abou Donia, Ph.D.
Princeton University
Chemical Biology

José L. Avalos, Ph.D.
Princeton University
Systems Biology

Eiman Azim, Ph.D.
Salk Institute for Biological Studies

Erhu Cao, Ph.D.
University of Utah

Ibrahim Cissé, Ph.D.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Michael A. Crickmore, Ph.D.
Boston Children's Hospital

Rachel J. Dutton, Ph.D.
University of California, San Diego

Michael M. Halassa, M.D., Ph.D.
New York University

Jorge Henao-Mejia, M.D., Ph.D.
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Ya-Chieh Hsu, Ph.D.
Harvard University
Stem Cell Biology

Gene-Wei Li, Ph.D.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cell Biology

Anna Victoria R. Molofsky, M.D., Ph.D.
University of California, San Francisco

Shaeri Mukherjee, Ph.D.
University of California, San Francisco
Microbiology and Immunology

Alan C. Mullen, M.D., Ph.D.
Massachusetts General Hospital
Cell Biology; Molecular Biology

Carolyn M. Phillips, Ph.D.
University of Southern California
Molecular Biology

Kaoru Saijo, M.D., Ph.D.
University of California, Berkeley

Robert Spitale, Ph.D.
University of California, Irvine
Chemical Biology

David Veesler, Ph.D.
University of Washington

Elizabeth Villa, Ph.D.
University of California, San Diego

Bin Wu, Ph.D.
Johns Hopkins University

Naoki Yamanaka, Ph.D.
University of California, Riverside

Nilay Yapici, Ph.D.
Cornell University

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

The 2017 classes of Pew-Stewart scholars for cancer research and Pew Latin American fellows were also announced today.


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

Latest From Our Biomedical Programs

Composite image of modern city network communication concept

Learn the Basics of Broadband from Our Limited Series

Sign up for our four-week email course on Broadband Basics

Quick View

How does broadband internet reach our homes, phones, and tablets? What kind of infrastructure connects us all together? What are the major barriers to broadband access for American communities?

Pills illustration
Pills illustration

What Is Antibiotic Resistance—and How Can We Fight It?

Sign up for our four-week email series The Race Against Resistance.

Quick View

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, also known as “superbugs,” are a major threat to modern medicine. But how does resistance work, and what can we do to slow the spread? Read personal stories, expert accounts, and more for the answers to those questions in our four-week email series: Slowing Superbugs.