HFSP alumni win 2011 NIH Director's awards

Congratulations to HFSP alumni for their success in the National Institutes of Health programmes to support highly talented individuals carrying out high-risk research.

Pioneer Awards are given to "Individuals of exceptional creativity proposing paradigm shifting research". Among this year's awards are three HFSP alumni:

Florian Engert (Harvard University) received an HFSP Long-Term Fellowship in 1999 for a postdoc in the laboratory of Mu-Ming Poo at the Berkeley campus of the University of California. In 2001 he moved to Harvard University as an assistant professor. He remained at Harvard, where he is now a professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. He has hosted two HFSP Long-Term Fellows, Johann Bollmann and Ruben Portugues. The work for which he has received the Pioneer Award is entitled "Watching A Vertebrate Brain Learn And Behave In A Virtual Environment".

Andrew P. Feinberg (Johns Hopkins University) received an HFSP Program Grant in 2007 with Elmar Weinhold (Germany), Richard Roberts (UK) and Hubert Köster (Germany) for a project on "Capturing the methylome by a novel approach to functional proteomics". His Pioneer Award is for a study of "A General Stochastic Epigenetic Model For Evolution, Development, And Disease""

Sharad Ramanathan (Harvard University) has joint appointments in the FAS Center for Systems Biology, the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. He received an HFSP Program Grant in 2004 with Marcos Gonzalez-Gaitan (Switzerland), Thomas Schmidt (Netherlands) and Alexander Schier (Harvard, USA) for a project entitled "Dynamics of TGF-beta morphogen gradient formation". His Pioneer Award is for a project on "A Road Map To The Neocortex". He has acted as host for HFSP Cross-Disciplinary Fellow Askin Kocabas.

New Innovator Awards are given to "Individual early stage investigators of exceptional creativity proposing reseach of uncommonly high potential impact".

Douglas Weibel (University of Wisconsin, Madison) has received a New Innovator Award for his work on "Revisiting The Bacterial Cell Wall As A Target For New Antibiotics". He received an HFSP Young Investigator Grant in 2008 with Zemer Gitai (Princeton, USA), Piotr Garstecki (Poland) and Martin Thanbichler (Germany) for "Identifying and characterizing bacterial cytoskeletal elements and small molecules that target them".