Pew is funding six research teams to pursue scientific discoveries


PHILADELPHIA—The Pew Charitable Trusts today announced the six scholar pairs that will make up its 2019 class of Innovation Fund Scholars.

These researchers, alumni of Pew’s biomedical programs in the United States and Latin America, combine interdisciplinary research to address some of the most complex questions in human biology and disease. Covering the spectrum from virology to epigenetics and microbiology to developmental biology, research teams combine multiple disciplines to advance scientific discovery and improve human health.

“By leveraging Pew’s biomedical network of more than 1,000 scientists, researchers with common goals can combine their expertise to help answer the toughest questions in science,” said Rebecca W. Rimel, President and CEO of The Pew Charitable Trusts. “We are proud to support this year’s class of researchers in their joint efforts to unlock groundbreaking discoveries. »

For nearly 35 years, Pew has fostered collaboration among its diverse community of biomedical scientists, culminating in the launch of the Innovation Fund in 2017. The criteria for awarding the fund were developed to promote synergy between alumni of the program, motivating researchers to collaborate on new proposals. All alumni holding positions of Assistant Professor or above are eligible to apply for the award, which is supported by the Kathryn W. Davis Peace by Pieces Fund.

This year’s Innovation Fund research teams and projects are:

Ariel A. Bazzini, Ph.D., 2010 Pew Latin American Fellow; Stowers Institute for Medical Research

Diego E. Alvarez, Ph.D., 2009 Pew Latin American Fellow; National University of San Martin

Bazzini and Alvarez will study how the dengue virus manipulates host cells to replicate during infection.

Fernando Camargo, Ph.D., Pew Biomedical Researcher 2010; Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard University

Alexander A. Gimelbrant, Ph.D., Pew Biomedical Researcher 2010; Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Camargo and Gimelbrant will explore how genetically identical organisms can look and function differently.

Jeannie T. Lee, MD, Ph.D., Pew Biomedical Researcher 1999; Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard University

Raymond J. Kelleher III, MD, Ph.D., Pew Biomedical Researcher 2006; Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard University

Drs. Lee and Kelleher will investigate how inheritance of the X chromosome from mother or father influences behavior and cognition, using Turner syndrome as a model.

Ruth Lehmann, Ph.D., Pew University Advisor; New York University

Agnel Sfeir, Ph.D., 2014 Pew-Stewart Fellow; New York University

Lehmann and Sfeir will develop tools to examine how mitochondrial DNA is inherited by offspring.

Julie K. Pfeiffer, Ph.D., Pew Biomedical Researcher 2007; University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Nicole King, Ph.D., Pew Biomedical Researcher 2004; University of California, Berkeley

Pfeiffer and King will explore the innate immune response in single-celled aquatic organisms called choanoflagellates.

Wesley Sundquist, Ph.D., Pew Scientific Advisor; University of Utah

Nels C. Elde, Ph.D., Pew Biomedical Researcher 2012; University of Utah

Sundquist and Elde will evaluate a protein found in certain types of monkeys that is known to provide resistance against viral infections and determine if it is able to do the same in other animals.

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