Edward De Robertis, National Advisory Committee member and founding member of the Pew Latin American Fellows Program, has been elected into the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. De Robertis, a native of Uruguay, is the N. Sprague Professor of Biological Chemistry at University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute—best known for identifying genetic patterns conserved throughout evolution.More info
The Pew Scholars Program and The Pew Latin American Fellows Program support promising early-career scientists from North, South and Central America in the health sciences — particularly young researchers with innovative approaches and ideas. By backing them early in their careers, this program enables our most promising scientists to take calculated risks and follow unanticipated leads to advance human health. Anita Pepper, Director of the Pew Programs in the Biomedical Sciences, explains the benefits of the programs.
Q: Two new reports from the National Institutes of Health and National Academies of Sciences say that the United States is not providing enough competitive funding to allow early-career researchers the independence and ability to follow their own curiosity and take risks. How do Pew’s Biomedical Sciences programs address this issue?
Pepper: Pew designed the Programs in the Biomedical Sciences to be an “insurance policy” to encourage risk taking.
Data shows that it is increasingly harder for early-career researchers to find or get funding. The average age when a scientist receives his or her first NIH independent research grant has risen from 36 in 1981 to 42 today. Investigators must have proven results to secure funding, which can squash innovation.
Pew provides unrestricted funding, which affords young investigators the freedom to pursue their most intriguing data and untested leads to improve human health.
Q: Both reports say promising researchers are not receiving the mentorship they need to be leaders in their fields of science. How does Pew’s program ensure young researchers receive mentorship and networking from experienced scientists?
Pepper: Just this past month, Science magazine published an editorial authored by one of our national advisory committee members, Ruth Lehmann, and one of our Scholars, Aaron Gitler, who decided to join forces at an annual Pew-sponsored gathering. This is one of many collaborations that have occurred over the years.
Networking and mentorship are critical components of biomedical discovery. To ensure that our scholars become part of the scientific network that is the Pew Scholars program, each year we host a five-day scientific meeting where Scholars discuss their research and bounce ideas off one another. It is there that our newest class of researchers gets to interact with and learn from past scholars, as well as our advisors.
I am proud of the strong and engaged community the Scholars have become.
Q: How long has Pew been supporting early career scientists? Is your program successful?
Pepper: While the concept of funding early-career scientists has recently become a national issue, Pew has supported the careers of young, ambitious investigators for the past 27 years.
We have more than 500 alumni who are positively affecting the future of biomedical research. Our Scholars are increasingly offered key leadership roles in academia and industry, while also earning numerous accolades, including three Nobel prizes in the last decade, MacArthur Fellowships, and the Albert Lasker Medical Research Award. In July, four of our Scholars were awarded the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers.
- Date added:
- Aug 3, 2012
- Biomedical Research
On May 9, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) announced that 27 of the nation’s top biomedical researchers—including seven Pew scholars—will become HHMI investigators and will receive the flexible support necessary to move their research in creative new directions. The Pew scholars named HHMI investigators are Peter Baumann (2003), Michael Dyer (2004), Nicole King (2004), Tirin Moore (2004), Dyche Mullins (2000), Michael Rape (2007), and Rachel Wilson (2005).More info
2009 Pew Biomedical Scholar Charles Mullighan was part of a research team at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital which recently found mutations responsible for more than half of a subtype of childhood brain tumors. Their paper in Nature Genetics pinpointed alterations in two genes that increased the risk of low-grade gliomas—the most common childhood tumors of the brain and spinal cord—and identified an existing drug as a possible treatment.More info
Salil Lachke, a 2012 Pew scholar and assistant professor of biological sciences at the University of Delaware, has been selected by the Alcon Research Institute as a 2013 Young Investigator. As one of just eight researchers worldwide to receive the $50,000 grant, Dr. Lachke will continue his work on an online tool he created to discover genes related to glaucoma and other eye diseases.More info
Jeff Gore, a 2011 Pew Scholar and assistant professor of physics at MIT, has been awarded a four-year, $1,131,603 grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences – one of the 27 National Institutes of Health – to pursue research into cooperation and cheating in the evolution of antibiotic resistance in bacteria.More info
Ben Stanger, a 2009 Pew scholar and assistant professor at University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, has demonstrated that cells can change their identities under normal conditions in the body. In a study published in Genes and Development, Dr. Stanger pinpointed the gene that allows the main type of liver cells in mammals to convert into the cells lining bile ducts.More info
To understand how embryos develop, many researchers look to animal models such as worms and frogs. But Mary Gehring, a 2011 Pew Biomedical Scholar and assistant professor of biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, turns to plants—even weeds.More info
Learn more about the women scientists of Pew's Biomedical Scholar's Program and help celebrate Women's history month.More info
In celebration of what would have been Albert Einstein’s 134th birthday, FoxNews.com ran an article highlighting young researchers, including 2011 Pew scholar Ann Morris. Thanks to her creative research on vision in zebrafish, Dr. Morris was mentioned among scientists who are “poised to change the way we live today, and will continue to influence our culture in the coming decades.More info
Dinu Florin Albeanu, a 2012 Pew Scholar, was profiled in National Geographic’s “Only Human” series, which highlighted his success as a Romanian scientist. Having lived in Bucharest for most of his life, Dr. Albeanu recognizes the challenges facing Romania’s scientific enterprise. Since relocating to the United States, the assistant professor of neurology at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory has co-founded a summer program for aspiring neurologists in Romania. More info
2011 Pew Scholar Wins Paul Allen Distinguished Investigators Award to Unlock Fundamental Questions in Biology
Jeff Gore, 2011 Pew Scholar and assistant professor of physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has won the Paul Allen Distinguished Investigators Award to Unlock Fundamental Questions in Biology. The award, announced today by the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, provides $7.5 million in exploratory grant funding to a carefully selected group of scientists who will embark on five new pioneering research projects that aim to unlock fundamental questions in biology. Dr. Gore will use single-celled yeast to explore how ideas from game theory can provide insight into cellular decision making.More info
Ben Stanger, named a Pew biomedical Scholar in 2009, co-authored a paper in Genes and Development describing a master regulator protein, which may explain the development of aberrant cell growth in the pancreas spurred by inflammation.More info