lncRNA Researcher One of Ten from Harvard named HHMI Faculty Scholars

Grants back early career scientists in ambitious research

from the Harvard Gazette By Peter Reuell

Ten Harvard scientists are among the 84 researchers nationwide named HHMI Faculty Scholars as part of a new initiative by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Simons Foundation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to recognize and support early career scientists who show exceptional promise.

The scholars will receive grants of between $600,000 and $1.8 million over the next five years. In total, the program will award $83 million to researchers from 43 institutions across the United States.

“We are very excited to welcome these accomplished scientists into the HHMI community,” said HHMI’s president, Erin O’Shea. “We’re equally gratified to work alongside our philanthropic partners to help these early career scientists move science forward by pursuing their bold ideas.”

John Rinn, professor of stem cell and regenerative biology and associate professor of pathology, principal faculty at Harvard Stem Cell Institute

Rinn was a pioneer on long noncoding RNA genes in the human genome. He has dedicated his research to understanding how these genes contribute to human health and disease. He further aims to dissect the molecular grammar guiding their functional roles in hopes of finding new avenues of therapeutic intervention.

The grant program was created in response to growing concern about the significant challenges facing young scientists, particularly increased competition for grant funding amid declines in federal support. Within a few years of a new faculty appointment, a researcher’s institutional startup funds typically come to an end. Pressure to secure federal grant money may lead to “safe” grant proposals. As a result, potentially transformative projects can fall by the wayside.

“We are delighted to help enable superb early career scientists to bring transformative innovation to priority global health problems,” said Chris Karp, director of global health discovery and translational sciences at the Gates Foundation.

“This program will provide these scientists with much-needed flexible resources so they can follow their best research ideas,” added David Clapham, HHMI vice president and chief scientific officer.

Source – Harvard Gazette

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