Part of the Common Fund's High-Risk, High-Reward Research program, the Pioneer Award supports individual scientists of exceptional creativity, who propose pioneering and transforming approaches to major challenges in biomedical and behavioral research.
Treating Mitochondrial Disease with Hypoxia
Vamsi Mootha (2011 Transformative Researcher) and Feng Zhang (2010 and 2015 Transformative Researcher and 2012 Pioneer) found low levels of oxygen is an effective therapy for mitochondrial diseases, which are debilitating and largely untreatable. Zebrafish and mouse models showed fewer symptoms and had a dramatically longer life span when raised in a low oxygen environment.
Uncovering RNA Structure
Pehr Harbury, a 2005 Pioneer, developed a method that reveals structural and ensemble properties of RNAs and RNA-protein complexes, providing information necessary to understand, predict, and engineer the behavior and function of RNAs and their protein complexes.
Tracing Free-Floating DNA Back to Its Source
Jay Shendure, a 2013 Pioneer, developed a method capable of identifying the source of free-floating DNA circulating in blood plasma by identifying the "footprints" of transcription factors and matching them to the cells of origin. The method opens the possibility of being able to identify and trace the source of cancers and improve the diagnosis, treatment, and management of a vast array of health conditions.
The Interdisciplinary Research program was supported by the Common Fund from 2005 through 2012. Currently, policies to facilitate interdisciplinary research and training initiatives developed through this program are in use by the scientific community, and many Interdisciplinary Research Consortia are continuing via other sources of support.
Highlights of the Interdisciplinary Research program's major accomplishments are:
- Numerous scientific advances addressing complex challenges in biomedical research (see examples on the Program Highlights page)
- Development of the NIH multi-PI policy, spurred in part by the Interdisciplinary Research program
- Development of successful interdisciplinary training programs to support the next generation of interdisciplinary scientists
Please note that since the Interdisciplinary Research program is no longer supported by the Common Fund, the program website is being maintained as an archive and will not be updated on a regular basis.
Archived Program Highlights
Obese people may have more difficulty resisting high calorie foods
Interdisciplinary consortium trainee collaboration uses technique developed in teeth to study the heart
Major Finding in Interdisciplinary Trainee Led Project Reveals How One Molecule- Adiponectin- Exerts Broad Protective Effects in Different Disease States
Fountain of Youth? Worms Reveal New Clues About Long Life
Mouse Genetics Leads to New Clues for
Human Psychiatric Disorders.
Colorful Solution to Extending Lifespan.