Pew Funds 22 Scientists Investigating Critical Biomedical Questions

Pew Funds 22 Scientists Investigating Critical Biomedical Questions

PHILADELPHIA—The Pew Charitable Trusts announced today the newest class of the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences—22 early-career scientists who will receive four years of funding to explore some of the most pressing questions in health and medicine.

“Biomedical innovation is essential to solving both current and emerging global health issues,” said Susan K. Urahn, Pew’s president and CEO. “We are pleased to support this talented and inspiring cohort and their research.”

The 2022 class of scholars—all early-career, junior faculty—joins a rich network of the more than 1,000 scientists who have received awards from Pew since 1985. Current scholars have opportunities to meet annually to build connections and exchange ideas with fellow Pew-funded scientists.

“This new class embodies diverse, creative, and unique new avenues of biomedical research,” 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. “With support from Pew, these scientists will have not only resources but access to a network of colleagues and advisors that will spark new discoveries and push the boundaries of their work. I look forward to seeing where their discoveries take them.”

Scholars were chosen from 197 applicants nominated by leading academic institutions and researchers across the United States. This year’s class includes scientists exploring the design of “universal vaccines” against rapidly mutating viruses, how the brain processes pain, and the evolution of cancer-protective responses from radiation exposure.

Five members of the 2022 class, who were selected for their commitment to investigating health challenges relating to the brain as it ages, will receive awards with support from the Kathryn W. Davis Peace by Pieces Fund.

The 2022 Pew scholars in the biomedical sciences are:

Ishmail Abdus-Saboor, Ph.D.
Columbia University
Dr. Abdus-Saboor will explore how the brain processes the physical sensation and emotional experience of pain.

Amber L. Alhadeff, Ph.D.
Monell Chemical Senses Center
Dr. Alhadeff will unravel the neural circuits that link nutrient sensing and feeding.

Mariana Byndloss, D.V.M., Ph.D.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Dr. Byndloss will explore why infants treated with antibiotics are prone to childhood obesity.

Melody Campbell, Ph.D.
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center
Dr. Campbell will explore the structural changes in cell-surface receptors that allow activated white blood cells to locate and fight infections.

Shane Campbell-Staton, Ph.D.
Princeton University
Dr. Campbell-Staton will investigate the evolution of protective, anticancer responses in wolves that live in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.

Amelia Escolano, Ph.D.
The Wistar Institute
Dr. Escolano will develop an approach for designing a “universal vaccine” against viruses that rapidly mutate.

Ankur Jain, Ph.D.
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research
Dr. Jain will explore the role that metabolites called polyamines play in health and disease.

Elizabeth Johnson, Ph.D.
Cornell University
Dr. Johnson will explore how the fats in human milk support the production of health-promoting metabolites by bacteria in the gut.

Naama Kanarek, Ph.D.
Boston Children’s Hospital; Harvard Medical School
Dr. Kanarek will engineer a method for detecting the metabolites produced by individual cancer cells, a key step toward unraveling what is different about cells that develop resistance to treatments that target the metabolic pathway.

Jacqueline Kimmey, Ph.D.
University of California, Santa Cruz
Dr. Kimmey will investigate how a person’s circadian body clock influences their immunity to infection.

Sarah Kocher, Ph.D.
Princeton University
Dr. Kocher will examine how genes and environment shape social behavior in sweat bees.

Maayan Levy, Ph.D.
University of Pennsylvania
Dr. Levy will explore how internal factors influence the biology of intestinal epithelial cells.

Matthew Lovett-Barron, Ph.D.
University of California, San Diego
Dr. Lovett-Barron will explore how schooling fish use visual information to coordinate their behavior.

Maria M. Mihaylova, Ph.D.
The Ohio State University
Dr. Mihaylova will examine how changes in intestinal stem cells and progenitor cells can lead to digestive issues, including an altered ability to absorb nutrients, as we age.

Matthew Miller, Ph.D.
University of Utah
Dr. Miller will investigate the mechanisms that allow duplicated chromosomes to be accurately distributed when a cell divides.

Alban Ordureau, Ph.D.
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Dr. Ordureau will investigate how cellular protein homeostasis supports healthy neurons’ development and activity.

Joseph Parker, Ph.D.
California Institute of Technology
Dr. Parker will use rove beetles to uncover mechanisms by which animal cell types synthesize and secrete bioactive small molecules.

Steve Ramirez, Ph.D.
Boston University
Dr. Ramirez will investigate whether artificially activating cells that encode memories can alter the course of Alzheimer’s disease.

C. Wyatt Shields IV, Ph.D.
University of Colorado Boulder
Dr. Shields will develop microscale robots for use in drug delivery.

Andrew B. Stergachis, M.D., Ph.D.
University of Washington
Dr. Stergachis will unravel the structure and function of chromatin and gene regulatory features within “uncharted” regions of the human genome.

William Wan, Ph.D.
Vanderbilt University
Dr. Wan will explore how the Ebola virus gains entry into host cells.

Laura Wingler, Ph.D.
Duke University
Dr. Wingler will unravel how different signaling molecules can activate the same receptor and yet induce distinct cellular responses.

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

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