Searle Scholars Program names 15 scientists as Searle Scholars for 2020
Members of the new class of Searle Scholars pursue ground-breaking research in chemistry and the biomedical sciences. Each receives an award of $300,000 in flexible funding to support his, her, or their work over the next three years.
The Searle Scholars Program makes grants to selected universities and research centers to support the independent research of exceptional young faculty in the biomedical sciences and chemistry who have recently been appointed as assistant professors on a tenure-track appointment. The Program’s Scientific Director appoints an Advisory Board of eminent scientists who choose the Scholars based on rigorous standards aimed at finding the most creative talent interested in pursuing an academic research career. This year, 199 applications were considered from nominations by 139 universities and research institutions.
“These fifteen young chemists and biomedical scientists, who were selected by our Scientific Advisory Board in a highly competitive process, will pursue bold programs that will change the directions of their respective fields,” remarked Milan Mrksich, Scientific Director for the Searle Scholars Program. The topics these scientists are pursuing include:
- How does the brain shift its functional properties to maintain sleep, wake, attentional, and affective states, and how can this knowledge lead to treatments for psychiatric disorders
- How does memory T cell differentiation and function in the barrier mucosae work, leading to better vaccines and therapies?
- How do archaea produce and consume the greenhouse gas methane, and how can they be engineered to address environmental and biotechnological challenges
- How can the design of protein sensors for specific analytes be used in biomedical imaging and diagnostics
These programs are exciting both for the fundamental insights they will reveal, and for the potential they have to improve health. “At a time when our world is facing an unprecedented challenge with the COVID pandemic, we are humbled by the trust that the public and government has placed in science to develop the diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines that will return our lives to normal. Indeed, we are proud of the many ways our past and present Scholars are leading this effort and are serving society in profound ways,” Mrksich added.
Since 1981, 632 scientists have been named Searle Scholars. Including this year, the Program has awarded more than $143 million. Eighty-five Searle Scholars have been inducted into the National Academy of Sciences. Nineteen Scholars have been recognized with a MacArthur Fellowship, known as the “genius grant,” and a Searle Scholar has been awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry.
About the Searle Scholars Program
The Searle Scholars Program supports high risk, high reward research across a broad range of scientific disciplines. Grants are $300,000 for a three-year term with $100,000 payable each year of the grant. The Searle Scholars Program is funded through the Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust and administered by Kinship Foundation, the private operating foundation that manages the institutional philanthropy of the Searle Family. For more information about the Searle Scholars Program visit www.searlescholars.net.
2020 class of Searle Scholars:
Mapping the Processes of Genome Editing in Human Cells
Adaptation of resident memory CD8 T lymphocytes in the reproductive mucosa
Investigating the mechanism of intrinsic type I IFN production and regulation in the brain
University of Chicago
Duodenal control of pancreatic immunity via shared lymphatic drainage
University of California, San Diego
Towards an atomistic understanding of mitochondrial protein biogenesis
Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience
Neuronal Mechanisms to Time Actions
University of California, Santa Barbara
Neural Circuit Mechanisms Underlying Dynamic Stimulus Selection
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Dynamic DNA allostery: a novel type of allostery for transcription and beyond
Neuromodulation of neural dynamics and perception across sleep and wakefulness
University of California, Berkeley
CRISPR guided insights into the physiology and evolution of methane metabolizing archaea
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Biological Contrast Agents for Analyte-Specific Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School
Peripheral sensory neuron dysfunction: Emerging roles in autism spectrum disorders
University of California, Santa Cruz
Sperm RNA-mediated intergenerational epigenetic inheritance
The Rockefeller University
A multi-scale analysis of mechanics during skeletal morphogenesis
Visualizing and understanding RNA modifications in brain function by in situ sequencing