NIH Director's New Innovator Award Recipients

2021 Awardees

Ahmed Abdelfattah

Ahmed S. Abdelfattah, Ph.D.

Brown University; Carney Institute for Brain Science

Project Title: Lighting Up the Brain: Optogenetic Tools to Record, Trace, and Manipulate Brain Circuits at Cellular Resolution
Grant ID: DP2-MH129956
Funded by the National Institute of Mental Health

Ahmed Abdelfattah is an Assistant Professor of Neuroscience at Brown University and the Carney Institute for Brain Science, where he develops light-responsive, genetically encoded tools for reading and modulating brain activity at high spatiotemporal resolution. He applies these tools to generate a mechanistic description of how the brain carries out its functions through mapping functional connections and monitoring the activity of individual cells and neural circuits. He received his B.S. degree in Pharmacy and Biotechnology from the German University in Cairo, and his Ph.D. degree in Chemistry from the University of Alberta. He then completed his postdoctoral research at the HHMI Janelia Research Campus where he engineered new chemigenetic probes for imaging brain activity. In addition to the NIH New Innovator Award, Abdelfattah is also a recipient of the Searle Scholar Award, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award at the Scientific Interface, and currently holds the Robert J. and Nancy D. Carney Endowed Professorship in Brain Science.


Monther Abu-Remaileh

Monther Abu-Remaileh, Ph.D.

Stanford University

Project Title: Innovations and Mechanisms in Tumor Subcellular Metabolism
Grant ID: DP2-CA271386

Monther is an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering and Genetics and Institute Scholar of ChEM-H at Stanford University. He grew up in Palestine and received his B.Sc in Genetics from the Jordan University of Science and Technology and then completed his Ph.D. at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 2014, where he studied the epigenetic regulation of gene expression in development and cancer. In the fall of 2014, Monther joined the laboratory of David Sabatini at the Whitehead Institute of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as Postdoctoral Fellow, where he developed novel technologies to study the role of the lysosome in cellular metabolism. The Abu-Remaileh lab at Stanford university studies the role of the lysosome in metabolic adaptation using subcellular omics approaches, functional genomics and innovative biochemical tools.


Daniel Aharoni

Daniel Aharoni, Ph.D.

University of California, Los Angeles

Project Title: Developing Long-Term Neuro-Behavioral Recording and Real-Time Processing Platforms for Naturally Behaving Animals
Grant ID: DP2-MH129986
Funded by the National Institute of Mental Health

Daniel Aharoni is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology at the University of California, Los Angeles. He received his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of California, Los Angeles, where he worked in high and low energy particle physics before shifting focus to neurophysics. Dr. Aharoni stayed at UCLA for a postdoctoral fellowship under Drs. Baljit Khakh, Alcino Silva, and Peyman Golshani, where he spearheaded the technical development of the open-source UCLA Miniscope Project. Dr. Aharoni’s lab lies at the intersection of engineering, neuroscience, and physics. Specifically, his lab focuses on applying tool development methodologies from engineering and physics to address current challenges in neuroscience and medicine. At the center of the Aharoni lab’s research are three main goals: (i) contribute to understanding circuit level neurological function, (ii) bridge the gap between specialized tool design and the intricacies of modern neuroscience, and (iii) promote equitable access to transformative tools and techniques in neuroscience.


Amber Alhadeff

Amber L. Alhadeff, Ph.D.

Monell Chemical Senses Center; University of Pennsylvania

Project Title: Harnessing Sensory Food Circuits to Influence Feeding Behavior
Grant ID: DP2-AT011965

Dr. Amber L. Alhadeff received her B.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, where she worked with Harvey Grill and Matthew Hayes to investigate the effects of hindbrain neuroendocrine signaling on food intake control. After receiving her Ph.D., Amber joined the laboratory of J. Nicholas Betley at Penn for her postdoctoral training where she explored the physiological regulation of homeostatic and reward circuits in the brain. In her lab at the Monell Chemical Senses Center, she is interested in gut-brain signaling pathways underlying motivated behavior, and is passionate about mentorship and promoting the advancement of underrepresented scientists. In addition to the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, Amber is a recipient of a NIH K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award, the L’Oreal USA For Women in Science Award, the Klingenstein-Simons Foundation Award in Neuroscience, and the American Heart Association Career Development Award.


Keriann Backus

Keriann M. Backus, Ph.D.

University of California, Los Angeles

Project Title: A Systems-Level Approach to Decipher the Protein Interactome
Grant ID: DP2-GM146246

Professor Keriann Backus is currently an Assistant Professor of Biological Chemistry and Chemistry and Biochemistry at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. She received her Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of Oxford, working in the labs of Benjamin Davis and Clifton Barry, supported by a Rhodes Scholarship and an NIH Oxford-Cambridge Scholarship. She then completed postdoctoral studies at the Scripps Research Institute in the lab of Benjamin Cravatt. Dr. Backus's current research aims to revolutionize the use of mass spectrometry-based proteomics to decipher the functions and therapeutic accessibility of human proteins. She is the recipient of several recent awards, including a V Scholar Grant, Beckman Young Investigator Award, DARPA Young Faculty Award and Packard Fellowship.


John Blosnich

John R. Blosnich, Ph.D., M.P.H.

University of Southern California

Project Title: Shifting Suicide Prevention Paradigms: Looking Beyond Clinical Settings
Grant ID: DP2-MH129967
Funded by the National Institute of Mental Health

John R. Blosnich, PhD, MPH is an Assistant Professor in the Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work at the University of Southern California. His primary area of research is suicide prevention among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals, with a specific focus on social determinants of suicide risk. He has leveraged existing survey and administrative datasets to fill gaps in knowledge about LGBT health equity. Over the last six years, he has worked on efforts to improve mortality data collection in the US to address the lack of sexual orientation and gender identity information.


Gian-Stefano Brigidi

Stefano Brigidi, Ph.D.

University of Utah

Project Title: Decoding Neuronal Activity History at the Genome Through the Spatially Segregated Inducible Transcription Factors
Grant ID: DP2-NS127276

Dr. Brigidi’s research seeks to understand the mechanisms that link the brain’s history of electrical activity with its present and future functions. He studies how novel sensory experiences that trigger activity within neuronal circuits change brain functions by modifying gene expression and synaptic connections. His lab’s project funded by the New Innovator Award will investigate how the cellular genome decodes activity fluctuations in neuronal circuits through inducible transcription factors, key molecular regulators of gene expression. In turn, the project aims to determine if the genome can transform activity into synapse and circuit changes tailored to experiences. The long-term goal of Dr. Brigidi’s research is to uncover the genomic mechanisms that form the neural basis of brain plasticity that supports behavioral adaptions and memory formation.


Breann Brown

Breann L. Brown, Ph.D.

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

Project Title: Off the Beaten Path(Way): Spatiotemporal Investigation of Protein Assemblies Controlling Mitochondrial Metabolism
Grant ID: DP2-GM146255

Dr. Brown is currently an Assistant Professor of Biochemistry at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine where her lab uses structural biology and enzymology to understand mechanisms of macromolecular assembly necessary for mitochondrial signaling and metabolism. She earned her B.S. in Chemistry from Duke University. She received her Ph.D. in Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology from Brown University with Dr. Rebecca Page where she investigated protein pairs that play a role in bacterial multidrug tolerance and chronic biofilm infections. She then completed her postdoctoral training at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with Dr. Tania A. Baker where she used X-ray crystallography and biochemical techniques to study mechanisms of protein assembly in both bacteria and human metabolic systems.


Daniele Canzio

Daniele Canzio, Ph.D.

University of California, San Francisco

Project Title: How Do Neurons Recognize Self from Non-Self?
Grant ID: DP2-MH129955
Funded by the National Institute of Mental Health

Daniele Canzio is an assistant professor in the Department of Neurology and the Weill Institute for Neurosciences at UCSF. Originally from Italy, Daniele moved to the US to attend college at UCSB where he received his Bachelor of Sciences in Chemistry and Biochemistry. As a graduate student at UCSF, Daniele investigated the mechanism of heterochromatin gene silencing by HP1 proteins in Dr. Geeta Narlikar’s lab. Daniele then joined the laboratory of Dr. Tom Maniatis at Columbia University as a postdoctoral fellow to study the expression regulation of Protocadherin genes during mammalian brain development. The long-term goal of his lab is to dissect the molecular logic by which neurons recognize and avoid self as they wire into functional neural circuits. Daniele is a recipient of the Helen Hay Whitney Foundation postdoctoral fellowship and the NIH Pathway to Independence Award.


Junyue Cao

Junyue Cao, Ph.D.

The Rockefeller University

Project Title: Single Cell Dynamics on a Whole Organism Scale
Grant ID: DP2-HG012522

Junyue Cao is an Assistant Professor and Head of the Laboratory for Single Cell Genomics at the Rockefeller University. He obtained his B.S. in Biological Science from Peking University and received his Ph.D. in Genome Sciences from the University of Washington in 2019, where he developed several impactful single-cell genomic profiling technologies in Dr. Jay Shendure's laboratory. At Rockefeller, the Cao lab is engaged in developing state-of-the-art genomic techniques to profile and perturb cell dynamics at single-cell resolution and dissecting its connection with internal transcriptome state and external cell-cell interactions.


Peter Choi

Peter S. Choi, Ph.D.

The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia; University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine

Project Title: Exploring Hidden Determinants of Splicing with Genome-Targeted Proximity Labeling
Grant ID: DP2-GM146251
Funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences

Peter Choi is an Assistant Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. He received his Ph.D. from Stanford University studying mechanisms of oncogene addiction with Dr. Dean Felsher and went on to do postdoctoral training in cancer genomics with Dr. Matthew Meyerson at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Broad Institute. His independent lab is currently interested in how RNA splicing regulates fundamental cellular processes and when perturbed, can drive the pathogenesis of diseases such as cancer.


Justin English

Justin English, Ph.D.

University of Utah School of Medicine

Project Title: Directed Evolution of Cell-Type Specific On-Demand Signaling Control Systems
Grant ID: DP2-GM146247

Justin English is an Assistant Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Utah. He leads a multi-disciplinary research group focused on creating and applying molecular tools to control and understand human health and disease. This is achieved through a combination of contemporary methods in directed evolution and protein engineering with class principles of pharmacology and biochemistry.

 


Mariella Filbin

Mariella G. Filbin, M.D., Ph.D.

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Project Title: How the 3D architecture of the brain shapes cancer cell fate decisions
Grant ID: DP2-NS127705-01
Funded by the Office of the Director & Common Fund

Mariella G. Filbin, MD, PhD, is a Pediatric Neurooncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Boston Children’s Hospital, and an Assistant Professor in Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. Her research is combining single-cell genetics and transcriptomics with gene editing, epigenetics, stem cell biology, and neuro-development to identify networks underlying tumorigenesis in pediatric brain tumors. Dr. Filbin completed her Doctor of Medicine and Doctor of Philosophy in Vienna, Austria, before completing her pediatrics residency at Boston Children’s Hospital and her subspecialty fellowship training in pediatric hematology/oncology at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s. Dr. Filbin is the recipient of the Career Award for Medical Scientists from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, the Distinguished Scientist Award from the Sontag Foundation, and A-Award from the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.


Candace Fleischer

Candace C. Fleischer, Ph.D.

Emory University School of Medicine

Project Title: A novel framework for quantifying metabolic brain health
Grant ID: DP2-NS127704-01
Funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Office of the Director, & Common Fund

Candace Fleischer is an assistant professor in the Department of Radiology & Imaging Sciences of Emory University School of Medicine and in the joint Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University. She received B.S. and M.S. degrees in chemistry from Western Washington University and a PhD in physical chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology. The Fleischer laboratory is focused on developing non-invasive brain magnetic resonance spectroscopy and thermometry methods for translational applications in brain injury, cancer, and stroke. In addition to the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, Dr. Fleischer is a recipient of the NIH NIBIB Trailblazer Award and the NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein postdoctoral NRSA.


Ana Gomes

Ana P. Gomes, Ph.D.

H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute

Project Title: Aging as a Selective Pressure that Drives Tumor Progression
Grant ID: DP2-AG0776980

Ana P. Gomes is an Assistant Member of the Department of Molecular Oncology at the Moffitt Cancer Center. She received a PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Coimbra (Portugal) and did her PhD work under the supervision of Dr. David Sinclair at Harvard Medical School studying the role of NAD+ in skeletal muscle aging. Ana subsequently completed her postdoctoral training with Dr. John Blenis at Weill Cornell Medicine, studying the influence of age-driven metabolic and epigenetic reprogramming in tumor progression. Her laboratory aims to define how aging shapes the tumorigenic process by taking a multidisciplinary approach, which encompasses cancer cell autonomous and non-autonomous mechanisms of tumor progression spanning from signaling paradigms to epigenetic reprogramming and metabolic rewiring. Ana has previously received a Susan G. Komen postdoctoral fellowship, a K99/R00 Pathway to Independence award from the National Institutes of Health, the Tri-Institutional Breakout Prize for Junior Investigators and was selected as a Forbeck Scholar, a STAT Wunderkind and a Rising Star in Cancer Metabolism and Signaling by the New York Academy of Sciences.


Yi-Nan Gong

Yi-Nan Gong, Ph.D.

UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, University of Pittsburgh

Project Title: Necrotic Survivors and Plasma Membrane Integrity Signaling
Grant ID: DP2-GM146320

Yi-Nan Gong is a member of Tumor Microenvironments Center, Hillman Cancer Center, and an assistant professor of immunology at the University of Pittsburgh. He received his Ph.D. training at the National Institute of Biological Science, Beijing under the mentorship of Dr. Feng Shao. Then he moved to St. Jude. Children's Research Hospital for postdoc training with the mentor Dr. Douglas Green. Dr. Gong's research aims to understand the basic cell death programs and re-program cell death for therapeutic applications.


Alon Gorodetsky

Alon A. Gorodetsky, Ph.D.

University of California, Irvine

Project Title: Cephalopod-Inspired Bioelectronic Control of Cellular Signaling
Grant ID: DP2-GM146335
Funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences

Dr. Alon Gorodetsky is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of California, Irvine. Dr. Gorodetsky obtained dual B.S. degrees in Engineering Physics and Materials Science at Cornell University and a Ph.D. in Chemistry at the California Institute of Technology. He then completed postdoctoral work as an NSF American Competitiveness in Chemistry Fellow at Columbia University. At the University of California, Irvine, his group has focused on developing adaptive infrared and thermoregulatory systems inspired by cephalopods, as well as on studying the materials properties and biomedical applications of cephalopod proteins called reflectins. For his research, Dr. Gorodetsky has received international recognition and numerous accolades, including the AFOSR Young Investigator Award, the DARPA Young Faculty Award with the Director’s Option, and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.


James Heys

Jim G. Heys, Ph.D.

University of Utah

Project Title: Uncovering the Neural Circuit and Synaptic Mechanisms Underlying Interval Timing
Grant ID: DP2-MH129958
Funded by the National Institute of Mental Health

Jim Heys is an Assistant Professor in the Neurobiology Department at The University of Utah. Dr. Heys completed his Ph.D. in Neuroscience at Boston University under the guidance of Dr. Michael Hasselmo. Dr. Heys then joined Dr. Daniel Dombeck’s lab at Northwestern University as a Simon’s Foundation - Collaboration on the Global Brain Fellow where he developed novel functional imaging methods that enabled him to uncover substrates of spatial and temporal representations within medial entorhinal cortex. At the University of Utah, his lab is focused on understanding the mechanisms of interval timing and how memories of the duration and temporal sequence of events are encoded and used to guide behavior. In order to tackle these questions his lab applies a range of in vivo cellular and sub-cellular resolution functional imaging methods, sophisticated behavioral approaches and computational modeling. In addition to the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, his lab is supported by The Whitehall Foundation and a Brain and Behavior Foundation Research – Young Investigator Grant.


Parisa Hosseinzadeh

Parisa Hosseinzadeh, Ph.D.

University of Oregon

Project Title: A Data-Driven Approach Towards Generation of Permeable Peptide Therapeutics
Grant ID: DP2-GM146249

Parisa Hosseinzadeh is an Assistant Professor in the Knight Campus center for accelerating scientific impact at the University of Oregon in Eugene OR, and a member of the International RosettaCommons consortium for protein modeling and design. Her lab uses computational and experimental techniques to build new functional biomolecules: novel enzymes, effective therapeutics, sensitive biosensors. She received her undergraduate training at University of Tehran and her graduate training at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, mentored by Yi Lu. She then joined David Baker’s lab at the Institute for Protein design as a Washington Research Foundation and Ruth L. Kirschstein NIH Postdoctoral. In addition to NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, her lab is also supported by the Donald E. and Delia B. Baxter Foundation.


Chi-Kuo Hu

Chi-Kuo Hu, Ph.D.

Stony Brook University

Project Title: Understanding Diapause and Its Ability to Suspend and Preserve Life
Grant ID: DP2-AG077431

Chi-Kuo Hu is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology at Stony Brook University. He is interested in the biology of dormancy, especially diapause, an embryonic dormant state to suspend development for an extended period of time without significant physiological and lifespan tradeoff. He obtained his B.S. in Biology from Fu Jen University, Taiwan, and his Ph.D. in Cell and Developmental Biology at Harvard Medical School, where he worked with Tim Mitchison on spatiotemporal regulation of cell division. He then completed his postdoctoral training with Anne Brunet at Stanford University, joined the effort to develop the African killifish a research organism for dormancy, development, and aging. In 2021, he established his own research group at Stony Brook University, focusing on how diapause interacts with development and aging, as well as establishing both diapause and the African killifish into a useful resource for science education.


Ruaidhri Jackson

Ruaidhrí Jackson, Ph.D.

Harvard Medical School

Project Title: Illuminating the Immune Systems Genomic Dark Matter: Functionally Annotating the Hidden Translatome
Grant ID: DP2-AI169979

Ruaidhrí Jackson is an Assistant Professor of Immunology at Harvard Medical School. He received his B.Sc. in Biological Sciences from the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, and also conducted his graduate studies there in the Molecular Immunology Lab of Prof. Paul Moynagh. He moved to Yale University for his post-doctoral training under the mentorship of Dr. Richard Flavell where he studied mucosal immunology, focusing on the roles of mechanosensation, the enteric nervous system, and identifying atypical protein-coding elements of the genome that control inflammation. Ruaidhrí’s independent research is particularly focused on functionally uncovering the pervasiveness of non-canonical translation events in this “genomic dark matter” during homeostasis, inflammation, and disease. In addition to the NIH New Innovator Award, Ruaidhrí has received multiple honors for his research and is currently also an Allen Foundation Distinguished Investigator.


Maya Kasowski

Maya Kasowski, M.D., Ph.D.

Stanford University

Project Title: A Single Cell Pooling Framework for Deciphering the Regulatory Wiring of Allergy in Pathophysiologic Contexts
Grant ID: DP2-HG012480

Dr. Kasowski is a physician-scientist at Stanford University in the Departments of Medicine, Pathology, and Genetics (by courtesy) and the Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy and Asthma Research. She pursued MD-PhD training at Yale, a post-doctoral fellowship in the Department of Genetics at Stanford, and residency training in clinical pathology at Stanford. Her graduate and post-doctoral work contributed mechanistic insights into how genetic variants give rise to gene expression variation across people through effects on regulatory proteins and epigenetic modifications. Dr. Kasowski’s lab is developing novel approaches to study links between genetic variation, intermediate molecular level phenotypes, and disease directly in patient cells and tissues.


Dwi Kemaladewi

Dwi U. Kemaladewi, Ph.D.

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh

Project Title: Implications of Genetic Diversity in Muscular Dystrophy
Grant ID: DP2-AR081047

Dr. Dwi Kemaladewi has a long-standing interest in the development of therapeutic genetics for rare neuromuscular and neurological disorders. Born in Indonesia, she received her B.Sc. in Life Sciences from Hogeschool van Arnhem en Nijmegen, Netherlands (2007) and Ph.D. in Human Genetics from Leiden University Medical Center, Netherlands (2012) on the use of antisense oligonucleotides to blunt detrimental pro-fibrotic signaling mechanism in Duchenne muscular dystrophy, under mentorship from Dr. Peter 't Hoen and the late Dr. Gert-Jan van Ommen. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship at SickKids Hospital, Toronto, Canada with Dr. Ronald Cohn, in which she exploited the CRISPR/Cas9 technology to develop creative therapeutic approaches for LAMA2-deficient congenital muscular dystrophy. She became an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in 2019. Her independent laboratory's effort to revolutionize genetic therapies for rare disease patients is supported by Muscular Dystrophy Association, Cure CMD, AFM-Telethon France, Duchenne Parent Project Netherlands, and further propelled by the NIH Director's New Innovator Award.


Erica Korb

Erica Korb, Ph.D.

University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine

Project Title: The Epigenetic Encoding of Learning and Memory
Grant ID: DP2-MH129985
Funded by the National Institute of Mental Health

Dr. Erica Korb is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Genetics and is a member of the Epigenetics Institute at the University of Pennsylvania. Erica received a B.S. from Yale University, a PhD from the University of California San Francisco in neuroscience, and performed postdoctoral work at The Rockefeller University under Dr. C. David Allis. She has won several awards for her work including the Alfred P. Sloan fellowship, the Klingenstein-Simons young investigator award, the NARSAD young investigator award, and the NIH Pathway to Independence Award. Her lab works at the intersection of neuroscience and epigenetics with the goal of understanding the role of chromatin in neuronal function and neurodevelopmental disorders.


Philip Kranzusch

Philip J. Kranzusch, Ph.D.

Harvard Medical School; Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Project Title: Discovery of cGAS-Like Signaling Enzymes in Innate Immunity and Disease
Grant ID: DP2-GM146250

Philip Kranzusch is an Associate Professor of Microbiology at Harvard Medical School and an Associate Professor of Cancer Immunology & Virology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. His research contributions include defining how specialized RNA signals control immune responses to pathogens and cancer, and discovering a direct evolutionary connection between mammalian innate immunity and prokaryotic bacteriophage defense. He obtained his Ph.D. from Harvard Medical School in the lab of Dr. Sean Whelan and trained as a postdoctoral fellow in the labs of Dr. Jennifer Doudna and Dr. James Berger at the University of California, Berkeley. In addition to the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, he is a recipient of the Burroughs Wellcomme Fund PATH Award, the American Society for Microbiology Early Career Basic Research Award, and is a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences.


Ksenia Krasileva

Ksenia V. Krasileva, Ph.D.

University of California Berkeley

Project Title: Cross-Kingdom Health: Evolution of Innate Immune Receptors and Their Targets
Grant ID: DP2-AT011967

Dr Ksenia Krasileva is an Assistant Professor at the University of California, Berkeley. Krasileva holds both BS and PhD degrees from Berkeley where she studied plant-microbe interactions and was trained in Genomic and Computational Biology. She did her postdoctoral work with Jorge Dubcovsky at University of California Davis supported by USDA NIFA Postdoctoral Fellowship. Krasileva lab studies the biology of genomes, evolution and function of plant innate immunity. https://krasilevalab.org


Brian Laidlaw

Brian J. Laidlaw, Ph.D.

Washington University in St. Louis

Project Title: Enhancing the Antiviral Memory B Cell Response
Grant ID: DP2-AI169978

Brian Laidlaw is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Allergy and Immunology at Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine. He received his Ph.D. in Immunology at Yale University, where he was co-advised by Drs. Susan Kaech and Joe Craft. He then completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Dr. Jason Cyster at University of California, San Francisco. His lab studies the cellular pathways governing memory B cell development and function, with the goal of revealing new targets for therapies designed to modulate the B cell response to facilitate improved disease outcomes. Dr. Laidlaw has been the recipient of the HHMI Damon Runyon Postdoctoral Fellowship and the NIAID Career Transition Award (K22).


John Lee

John K. Lee, M.D., Ph.D.

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center; University of Washington School of Medicine

Project Title: Uncovering Diverse Genotype-Phenotype Relationships in Prostate Cancer
Grant ID: DP2-CA271301

John Lee is a physician-scientist and Assistant Professor in the Human Biology Division at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the Division of Medical Oncology at the University of Washington School of Medicine. He received an A.B. with highest honors in Biochemical Sciences at Harvard University and an M.D. at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth during which he participated in the HHMI-NIH Research Scholars Program. John completed his clinical training in internal medicine at Boston Medical Center and Specialty Training and Advanced Research (STAR) fellowship in medical oncology at UCLA where he obtained a Ph.D. from the Molecular Biology Institute under the mentorship of Dr. Owen Witte. His laboratory is focused on untangling diverse genotype-phenotype relationships in cancer using higher-order combinatorial genetics approaches and developing cellular immunotherapy strategies for prostate and bladder cancer. In addition to the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, John is a recipient of the Prostate Cancer Foundation Young Investigator and Challenge Awards, Society for Basic Urologic Research Young Investigator and Eula and Donald S. Coffey Innovative Research Awards, Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network Research Innovation Award, American Society for Clinical Investigation Young Physician-Scientist Award, and multiple awards from the Department of Defense.


Guang Li

Guang Li, Ph.D.

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Project Title: Generation of Four-Chambered Hearts Through Organoid Fusions
Grant ID: DP2-HL163745

Guang Li is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Developmental Biology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He received his Ph.D. from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and subsequently did postdoctoral training at Stanford. His postdoc work mainly focused on heart development using single-cell approaches. Guang started his lab at the University of Pittsburgh in 2019. His lab is broadly interested in organoids, cardiovascular biology, and single-cell methods.


Pulin Li

Pulin Li, Ph.D.

Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research; Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Project Title: Systematic Reconstruction of Epithelial-Mesenchymal Communication in Organ Development
Grant ID: DP2-HD108777

Pulin Li is a member at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She received a PhD in Chemical Biology from Harvard University with Leonard Zon, discovering novel signaling pathways that regulate hematopoietic stem cell function. She then completed her postdoctoral work at California Institute of Technology in the laboratory of Michael Elowitz, where she developed a bottom-up reconstitution approach to understand the rules of morphogen signaling and tissue patterning in a petri dish, combining synthetic engineering, quantitative imaging and mathematical modeling. At Whitehead, her lab is broadly interested in understanding how communication circuits are wired in multicellular systems and spatially organized to enable tissue-level behavior.


Cressida Madigan

Cressida Madigan, Ph.D.

UC San Diego

Project Title: Bacterial Disruption of Neuroimmune Pathways in a Transparent Brain
Grant ID: DP2-NS127277

Cressida Madigan earned her Ph.D. at Harvard Medical School, where she studied TB lipid chemistry in Branch Moody’s lab. As a postdoctoral fellow in Lalita Ramakrishnan’s lab, she studied the host response to infection using zebrafish, and completed her training in neurobiology and human immunology at UCLA. She joined the Molecular Biology faculty at UC San Diego in 2018, where her lab uses zebrafish genetic and imaging approaches to understand neuroimmune responses to infection. Dr. Madigan has been recognized as a Searle Scholar, a Neuroscience Fellow of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and a Pew Biomedical Scholar.


Robbie Majzner

Robbie G. Majzner, M.D.

Stanford University School of Medicine

Project Title: Hijacking the T cell machinery for logic-gated CAR T cell control
Grant ID: DP2-CA272092-01

Robbie Majzner is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Stanford University School of Medicine who is focused on the development and deployment of immunotherapies for pediatric cancer. He received his MD from Harvard Medical School followed by training in pediatrics at New York Presbyterian-Columbia and pediatric hematology-oncology at Johns Hopkins and the National Cancer Institute. His work in the laboratory centers on engineering platform technologies to improve the specificity and efficacy of CAR T cells in solid tumors and overcome therapeutic resistance. Concurrently, he is focused on translating laboratory advances in innovative clinical trials for children with incurable cancers.


Maria Mihaylova

Maria M. Mihaylova, Ph.D.

The Ohio State University

Project Title: Determining Age-Dependent Metabolic Changes in Tumors and Their Microenvironment
Grant ID: DP2-CA271361

Maria Mihaylova is an Assistant Professor at the Ohio State University in the Department of Biological Chemistry and Pharmacology and a member of the Ohio State Comprehensive Cancer Center. She received her Ph.D. at the University of California at San Diego/ Salk Institute where she studied nutrient sensing and transcriptional control of metabolism in the lab of Dr. Reuben Shaw. As a Damon Runyon Fellow at the Whitehead Institute/MIT in Dr. David Sabatini’s lab, she studied the effects of diet on stem cell function in the context of aging and cancer. Her current work focuses on nutrient sensing, aging and cancer metabolism, employing a number of genetic and multidisciplinary analytical approaches in mouse models and 3D organoid culture systems to resolve metabolic heterogeneity across different tissues and cell types. She is also the recipient of the NIH Pathway to Independence Award and Glenn Foundation for Medical Research and AFAR Grant for Junior Faculty.


Mustafa Mir

Mustafa Mir, Ph.D.

University of Pennsylvania; Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Project Title: Quantifying the Dynamics of Gene Regulation and Nuclear Organization During Embryogenesis
Grant ID: DP2-HD108775

Mustafa Mir is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology at the University of Pennsylvania and The Center for Computational and Genomic Medicine at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. He did his undergraduate and graduate studies in Electrical Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he worked with Dr. Gabriel Popescu on developing quantitative phase imaging technologies. Mustafa did his postdoctoral work in the labs of Dr. Xavier Darzacq and Dr. Robert Tjian at the University of California, Berkeley where he performed the first single molecule studies on transcription regulation in the context of early embryonic development. At Penn and CHOP the Mir lab is developing and applying novel advanced fluorescence microscopy technologies and computational analysis tools to study and manipulate the molecular scale dynamics of gene regulation during embryogenesis.


Wendy Mok

Wendy W.K. Mok, Ph.D.

University of Connecticut Health Center

Project Title: Mapping Polymicrobial Interactions that Modulate Antibiotic Persistence
Grant ID: DP2-GM146456

Wendy Mok is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular Biology and Biophysics at UConn Health. Her research program is focused on investigating the impact of environmental signals, especially those stemming from microbial interactions, on the phenotypic responses of bacteria toward antibiotics using a combination of single-cell and multiomic approaches. Wendy received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry at McMaster University in Canada, where she trained in the laboratory of Prof. Yingfu Li. Wendy then trained as a Charles H. Revson Sr. postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Prof. Mark Brynildsen at Princeton University, where her research centered on the role of metabolism in antibiotic treatment failure. In addition to the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, research in the Mok Lab is supported by funding from the Charles H. Hood Foundation.


Swetha Murthy

Swetha Murthy, Ph.D.

Vollum Institute, Oregon Health and Science University

Project Title: A New Approach to Study Mechanically Activated Ion Channels
Grant ID: DP2-GM145302
Funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences

Swetha Murthy earned her B.S. and M.S. from Bangalore University in India. She received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the State University of New York, Buffalo in 2012. Under the guidance of Gabriela Popescu she studied gating mechanism of NMDA receptors for her doctoral research. She trained as a postdoctoral fellow with Ardem Patapoutian at Scripps Research where she studied the function and physiology of mechanically activated ion channels, PIEZOs. Murthy joined the Vollum Institute as Assistant Scientist/Professor in 2019. Her lab studies how mechanically activated ion channels detect and respond to physical stimuli, and how this response governs mammalian physiology.


James Neal

J.T. Neal, Ph.D.

Broad Institute of MIT & Harvard

Project Title: Optical Functional Genomics
Grant ID: DP2-GM146252
Funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences

J.T. Neal is a Merkin Institute Fellow and Senior Group Leader at the Broad Institute of MIT & Harvard. Dr. Neal received his B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of Washington and his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the University of Oregon, where he worked with Karen Guillemin to study host-microbe interactions during development and tumorigenesis. He completed postdoctoral training with Calvin Kuo as a fellow of the American Cancer Society at Stanford University, where he developed new organoid culture and single-cell sequencing methods for the study of tumor immunology. At the Broad Institute, the Neal lab develops and applies novel technologies for genome editing as well as massively parallel single-cell imaging and transcriptomics approaches for studying the effects of genetic variation in cancer and other diseases.


Anthony Orvedahl

Anthony Orvedahl, M.D., Ph.D.

Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis

Project Title: Alveolus as Incubator: Functional Genomic Dissection of the Host Response to SARS-CoV-2 Infection
Grant ID: DP2-GM146457

Anthony Orvedahl is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and of Pathology and Immunology and an attending physician in Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He completed his MD and PhD training at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, where his graduate work with Beth Levine, MD, helped to establish the role of autophagy in innate antiviral immunity via the targeting of viral proteins for clearance. His postdoctoral work with Herbert “Skip” Virgin, MD, PhD, and Gary Silverman, MD, PhD, at Washington University identified a role for autophagy genes in the survival of activated macrophages and in the protection against cytokine storm syndromes. Dr. Orvedahl’s research program utilizes novel multi-omic and cell-based techniques to delineate the cell-intrinsic and multicellular processes that give rise to fatal systemic inflammation from various triggers, including SARS-CoV-2-induced cytokine storm syndromes. Dr. Orvedahl is a recipient of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society-St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Fellowship Award in Basic Research and a Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development Award (K08) from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.


Madeleine Oudin

Madeleine J. Oudin, Ph.D.

Tufts University

Project Title: Defining and Exploiting the Neuronal Identity of Cancers
Grant ID: DP2-CA271387

Madeleine Oudin is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Tufts University. She obtained a BSc in Biochemistry from McGill University, MSc in Pharmacology and PhD in Neuroscience from Kings College London, UK in the lab of Prof. Patrick Doherty, investigating the mechanisms of adult neurogenesis. She completed her post-doctoral studies in the lab of Prof. Frank Gertler at the Koch Institute at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology identifying novel mechanisms of cancer metastasis, the dissemination of tumor cells throughout the body, and drug resistance. Research in her lab is aimed at understanding understand how components of the tumor microenvironment, such as the extracellular matrix and nerves, drive metastasis and how they affect response to chemotherapy. In addition to the NIH New Innovator Award, she is the recipient of an NIH Pathway to Independence Award.


Chethan Pandarinath

Chethan Pandarinath, Ph.D.

Emory University; Georgia Institute of Technology

Project Title: Fusing Motor Neuroscience and Artificial Intelligence to Create Next-Generation Neural Prostheses
Grant ID: DP2-NS127291

Chethan Pandarinath is an Assistant Professor in Biomedical Engineering and Neurosurgery at Emory University and Georgia Tech. He received bachelors degrees in Computer Engineering, Physics, and Science Policy at North Carolina State University, followed by a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering at Cornell University, with a focus on information processing and neural coding in the visual system. He then did a postdoctoral fellowship with Professors Jaimie Henderson (Neurosurgery) and Krishna Shenoy (Electrical Engineering) at Stanford University, where he developed high-performing brain-controlled assistive devices for people with paralysis and was supported by a fellowship from the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation. His research uses artificial intelligence to study neural computation and to improve the performance and robustness of brain-machine interfaces. He is also a recipient of an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship in Neuroscience and a K12 Rehabilitation Engineering Research Career Development Fellowship.


Justin Perry

Justin S. A. Perry, Ph.D., M.A.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; Weill Cornell Medicine

Project Title: Rethinking the "Quiet" Nature of Apoptotic Cell Clearance
Grant ID: DP2-GM146337
Funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences

Justin Perry, Ph.D., M.A., is an Assistant Member in the Immunology Program of the Sloan Kettering Institute (SKI) at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and an Assistant Professor in the Immunology and Microbial Pathogenesis program at Weill Cornell Medical Center. Justin first obtained a M.A. in Clinical Psychology, followed by a Ph.D. in Immunology from Washington University in St. Louis. He then went on to complete a Postdoctoral Fellowship with Dr. Kodi Ravichandran at the University of Virginia. The Perry Lab combines techniques from immunology, cell biology, metabolism, and informatics to address how phagocytes, such as macrophages, handle the immense burden of apoptotic cell clearance, aka ‘efferocytosis’. For his work at SKI, Justin has been awarded the NCI K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award, a Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy Career Development Award, the V Scholar Grant, and a Pew Charitable Trusts Biomedical Scholars Award.


Calin Plesa

Calin Plesa, Ph.D.

University of Oregon

Project Title: Proteome Scale Multiplexed Generation of Recombinant Antibodies
Grant ID: DP2-AT011964

Calin Plesa is an Assistant Professor of Bioengineering in the Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact at the University of Oregon. He received a B.A.Sc. from Simon Fraser University, M.Sc. from Chalmers University of Technology, and a Ph.D. from Delft University of Technology researching solid-state nanopores in the lab of Cees Dekker. As a Human Frontier Science Program postdoctoral fellow in Sri Kosuri's lab at UCLA he developed DropSynth, a low-cost scalable method to synthesize thousands of genes. Calin holds a CASI award from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and started his lab at the University of Oregon in 2019. His lab is interested in accelerating the pace at which we understand and engineer biological protein-based systems by developing technologies that operate at much larger scales than previously possible.


Gerald Quon

Gerald Quon, Ph.D.

University of California, Davis

Project Title: Linking Genetics to Cellular Behavior and Disease Via Multimodal Data Integration
Grant ID: DP2-MH129987
Funded by the National Institute of Mental Health

Gerald Quon is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of California, Davis. His research focuses on building computational models of gene regulation to study the genetic basis of human complex traits. Gerald received a B. Math in Computer Science from the University of Waterloo, and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Toronto, where he worked with Quaid Morris on models of gene regulation in cancer. As a postdoctoral fellow with Manolis Kellis at MIT, he integrated genetic, transcriptional and epigenetic datasets to predict trait-associated cell types, transcriptional regulators and genetic variants in human complex diseases. In addition to the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, Gerald is a recipient of an NSF CAREER award.


Vijay Ramani

Vijay Ramani, Ph.D.

University of California San Francisco

Project Title: Single-Cell Chemical Transcriptomic Dissection of an Essential Transcription Factor Network
Grant ID: DP2-HG012442

Vijay Ramani is currently a Sandler Faculty Fellow in UCSF's Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, and is an incoming Assistant Investigator at the Gladstone Institute for Data Science & Biotechnology. He received his B.S.E. in Chemical & Biological Engineering from Princeton University, and a Ph.D. in Genome Sciences from the University of Washington. After completing his Ph.D. in the lab of Dr. Jay Shendure, Vijay accepted a UCSF Sandler Faculty Fellowship to begin his own independent research group in the Fall of 2018. Today, the Ramani lab develops new genomic technologies to study transcriptional regulation at the resolution of single cells and single molecules. In addition to the NIH New Innovator Award and Sandler Faculty Fellowship, Vijay was named to the 2020 Forbes Magazine 30 under 30 list in the Healthcare category.


Tiarney Ritchwood

Tiarney D. Ritchwood, Ph.D.

Duke University School of Medicine

Project Title: Community-Academic Partnerships to Address COVID-19 Inequities Within African American Communities
Grant ID: DP2-MD017444

Tiarney Ritchwood is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the Duke University School of Medicine, with a secondary appointment in the Duke Global Health Institute. She is a licensed clinical psychologist and global health equity researcher whose program of research integrates psychological and public health sciences to improve health outcomes and social conditions impacting members of underserved communities by leveraging social innovation, participatory methods, and multisectoral partnerships. Moreover, she is passionate about mentoring and is committed to supporting students, trainees, and junior faculty in the areas of research and career development. In addition to the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, Dr. Ritchwood’s work is supported by career development awards from NIMH (K08) and Duke’s REACH Equity Center (U54).


Lorena Saelices Gomez

Lorena Saelices, Ph.D.

UT Southwestern Medical Center

Project Title: Closing the Gap Between Structural Biology and Translational Science for Amyloid Diseases
Grant ID: DP2-HL163810

Dr. Saelices earned her B.S. in biology and her Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Seville, Spain. She was a postdoctoral fellow at ETH Zürich and UCLA, and an Assistant and Associate Project Scientist at UCLA. Dr. Saelices joined the UT Southwestern faculty in 2020 as an Assistant Professor in the Center for Alzheimer’s and Neurodegenerative Diseases and the Department of Biophysics. Her multidisciplinary training started with the genetic study of the metabolism of carotenoids in fungi, was followed by the biochemical and structural study of the metabolism of nitrogen in cyanobacteria, and finally focused on the development of new potential therapeutic strategies for transthyretin amyloidosis and Alzheimer's disease. Her lab applies cryo-electron microscopy to obtain atomic information of amyloid structures in these diseases, which is later used to design tools for the clinic.


Nikhil Sharma

Nikhil Sharma, Ph.D.

Columbia University

Project Title: The Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Nociception and Pain
Grant ID: DP2-NS127278

Nikhil Sharma is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology & Therapeutics and the Department of Systems Biology. Dr. Sharma received a B.A. in mathematics from Johns Hopkins University and a Ph.D in Molecular and Cellular Biology from Harvard University. Afterwards, Dr. Sharma worked as a management consultant for L.E.K. consulting followed by a Postdoctoral fellowship in neurobiology at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Sharma's lab studies the cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie pain.


Mijo Simunovic

Mijo Simunovic, Ph.D.

Columbia University

Project Title: Synthetic Organogenesis: New Paradigms in Reconstituting Human Organ Development In Vitro
Grant ID: DP2-HD108776

Trained in the physical sciences, Mijo's research interests lie at the intersection of biological engineering, physics, and developmental biology. Mijo received their Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Chicago, and another Ph.D. in Physics from the Sorbonne Universities in Paris. Now at Columbia, Mijo is an assistant professor in Chemical Engineering with appointments in Genetics and Development and at the Columbia Stem Cell Initiative. Keeping in line with their multidisciplinary training and interests, Mijo's lab comprises a diverse group of chemical and biological engineers, geneticists, physicists, and synthetic biologists, all with the common goals of discovering the basic mechanisms of human development, of devising new approaches in reconstructing human organ formation in a lab, and of elucidating its failure.


Clare Smith

Clare Smith, Ph.D.

Duke University Medical Center

Project Title: Dissecting the Genetic Basis of Protective Immunity to Tuberculosis in Diverse Hosts
Grant ID: DP2-GM146458

Clare Smith is an Assistant Professor in the Molecular Genetics and Microbiology Department in the School of Medicine at Duke University. Dr. Smith did her PhD thesis work on host-directed therapeutics for malaria in Simon Foote’s Laboratory at the Menzies Research Institute, University of Tasmania, Australia. She then did a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the lab of Chris Sassetti at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Here, she combined her host genetics background with new bacterial technologies to develop a “dual genome” system to probe the host-pathogen interactions that drive susceptibility to tuberculosis. The Smith Lab are leveraging genetically diverse mammalian models and new bacterial genetic technologies to define the host-pathogen interactions underlying the many disease states underlying tuberculosis.


Zachary Smith

Zachary Smith, Ph.D.

Yale School of Medicine; Yale Stem Cell Center

Project Title: Epigenetic and Environmental Impact on Early Embryonic Development
Grant ID: DP2-HD108774

Zachary Smith received his B.S. in Biology from M.I.T. in 2008 and his Ph.D. in Biology from Harvard in 2019. He trained as a research assistant and graduate student in Professor Alex Meissner’s lab in Harvard’s Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology (SCRB) and at the Broad Institute of M.I.T. and Harvard. There he published research on direct reprogramming of somatic cells to pluripotency, global changes in genome regulation during early mouse and human development, and the roles of chromatin regulators during implantation and gastrulation. He also helped innovate novel tools to reveal the underlying genetic, epigenetic, and cellular forces that govern ontogeny, the highly coordinated progression of progenitor cells as they commit to form a complex organism. Zachary joined the Yale Stem Cell Center and Department of Genetics as an Assistant Professor in September, 2020.


Bryan Sun

Bryan Sun, M.D., Ph.D.

University of California San Diego

Project Title: Insights to Noncoding Disease Variants Using Mosaic Diseases
Grant ID: DP2-HG012441

Bryan Sun is an assistant professor in the Department of Dermatology at the University of California San Diego. His laboratory studies the genomic regulators of skin development and disease, with a particular interest on functional elements of the noncoding genome. He completed M.D. and Ph.D. degrees at Harvard Medical School, studying mechanisms of mammalian X-chromosome inactivation in the laboratory of Jeannie Lee. He completed dermatology residency at Stanford and postdoctoral training with Paul Khavari prior to joining the faculty at UC San Diego. Bryan's lab applies both bench- and patient-oriented approaches, with a particular focus on individuals with genetic mosaic conditions.


Lu Sun

Lu Sun, Ph.D.

UT Southwestern Medical Center

Project Title: Molecular and Genetic Decoding of Neuron-Glial Interactions
Grant ID: DP2-MH129988
Funded by the National Institute of Mental Health

Lu Sun is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular Biology and the Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute at UT Southwestern Medical Center. Under the guidance of Alex Kolodkin, Lu Sun earned his Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the Johns Hopkins University, where he identified key molecular mechanisms underlying visual circuit assembly. As a postdoctoral fellow mentored by Dr. Ben Barres and co-mentored by Dr. Liqun Luo at Stanford University, he focused on neuron-glia interactions and identified novel mechanisms that govern central nervous system myelination specificity. In 2020, Lu Joined the faculty at UT Southwestern Medical Center as a Southwestern Medical Foundation Scholar in Biomedical Research, where his lab is dedicated to understanding the fundamental principles governing neuron-glia interactions in health and disease. In addition to the New Innovator Award, Lu Sun is the recipient of Helen Hay Whitney Postdoctoral Fellowship, National Multiple Sclerosis Society Career Transition Award, NIH Pathway to Independent Award (K99/R00), and 2020 BBRF Young Investigator Award (NARSAD Award).


Seychelle Vos

Seychelle M. Vos, Ph.D.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Project Title: Towards Fully Reconstituting Mammalian Transcription in a Test Tube
Grant ID: DP2-GM146254

Seychelle Vos uses structural biology (cryo-electron microscopy and X-ray crystallography) and biochemistry to understand how gene expression and genome organization are physically coupled. Dr. Vos completed her bachelors in Genetics at the University of Georgia, followed by a PhD in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California, Berkeley in the laboratory of James M. Berger. Her doctoral research investigated molecular mechanisms regulating machines involved in DNA organization. She completed her post-doctoral work at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Germany where she determined how the machine responsible for gene expression is regulated near gene promoters. Dr. Vos joined the faculty at MIT as an Assistant Professor in Fall 2019.


Daniel Wagner

Daniel E. Wagner, Ph.D.

University of California, San Francisco; Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research

Project Title: Mapping Cell Fate Flow and Feedback Control on Vertebrate Embryonic Landscapes
Grant ID: DP2-GM146258
Funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences

Daniel Wagner is a principal investigator at the Eli & Edythe Broad Center for Regeneration Medicine and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science at the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF). His lab utilizes single-cell 'omics and quantitative lineage barcoding technologies to study mechanisms of embryonic patterning, cell fate control, and developmental bottlenecks, using the zebrafish embryo as a model. Daniel received his training in developmental and regenerative biology during his Ph.D. studies with Dr. Peter Reddien at MIT, and training in systems biology with Drs. Allon Klein and Sean Megason at Harvard Medical School. As a graduate student, Dan identified the cNeoblast, the adult pluripotent stem cell that provides lifelong whole-body regenerative ability to the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea. As a postdoctoral fellow, Dan assembled the first comprehensive single-cell transcriptomic atlas of the developing vertebrate embryo, which was recognized as Science Magazine's Breakthrough of the Year (2018). His research has been recognized by awards from the Life Sciences Research Foundation (LSRF), a K99/R00 Pathway to Independence award from the National Institutes of Health, and a Searle Scholars award.


Liling Wan

Liling Wan, Ph.D.

University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine

Project Title: Illuminating Transcriptional Condensates Using an Integrated Approach
Grant ID: DP2-HG012443

Liling Wan is an Assistant Professor at University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. She received a B.S. in Biological Sciences and Biotechnology from Tsinghua University and a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from Princeton University. As a Jane Coffin Childs Fellow, she carried out postdoctoral studies in Chromatin Biology and Epigenetics with C. David Allis at Rockefeller University. The Wan lab studies basic chromatin and gene regulatory mechanisms and how these mechanisms are dysregulated in cancer, with the goal of harnessing these insights for therapeutics. In addition to the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, she has been recognized for her research through numerous awards including NIH Pathway to Independence Award, the Blavatnik Award for Young Scientists, AACR NextGen Star, and was recently named a Pew-Stewart Scholar.


William Wan

Will Wan, Ph.D.

Vanderbilt University

Project Title: Elucidating the Mechanisms of Viral Life Cycles Under Near-Native Conditions
Grant ID: DP2-GM146321

Will Wan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Center for Structural Biology at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Wan received his Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in the laboratory of Gerald Stubbs, where he studied the biophysics of amyloid and prion propagation. He did his first postdoctoral fellowship at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in the group of John Briggs, where he studied the structure of Ebola and Marburg viruses. Dr. Wan then did a second postdoc at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in the laboratory of Wolfgang Baumeister, where he developed computational methods for structural biology in cellular environments. Combining his previous experiences, Dr. Wan’s laboratory is interested in determining the mechanisms that drive viral infection by characterizing these molecular processes in cellular environments.


Xiao Wang

Xiao Wang, Ph.D.

MIT; Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard

Project Title: Single-Cell In Situ Analysis of RNA Modifications in Intact Tissues
Grant ID: DP2-GM146245
Funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences

Xiao Wang is a core institute member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry at MIT. Wang received her B.S. in chemistry and molecular engineering from Peking University. She received her Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Chicago in 2015, where she elucidated the cellular functions of RNA modifications with Professor Chuan He. Wang further conducted postdoctoral research at Stanford University with Professor Karl Deisseroth, where she was a fellow of the Life Sciences Research Foundation. She started her lab in 2019 to develop and apply new chemical, biophysical, and genomic tools to better understand gene regulation mechanisms in cells and tissues.


Jessica Weaver

Jessica D. Weaver, Ph.D.

Arizona State University

Project Title: Immunosuppression-Free Transplantation Through Placental Mimicry
Grant ID: DP2-AI169476

Jessica D. Weaver is an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering in the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering at Arizona State University, and her research centers on developing translatable cell-based therapies for the treatment of disease, with a focus on cell therapies to induce tolerance in transplantation and for the treatment of Type 1 Diabetes. The Weaver lab uses biomaterials and immune engineering approaches with the aim to generate immunosuppression-free transplantation strategies. Dr. Weaver obtained her PhD in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Miami with Cherie L. Stabler prior to completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the Georgia Institute of Technology with Andres J. Garcia, where she was supported by the NIH ILET2 training grant and a JDRF Postdoctoral Fellowship. Dr. Weaver's lab is currently supported by the JDRF and Arizona Biomedical Research Commission.


Alison Wendlandt

Alison Wendlandt, Ph.D.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Project Title: Late Stage Stereochemical Editing to Transform the Synthesis of Bioactive Molecules
Grant ID: DP2-GM146248

Alison Wendlandt is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the Massachusetts institute of Technology. Alison is originally from Colorado, and received her B.S. from the University of Chicago and her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Alison was subsequently a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University in the Jacobsen research group, until beginning her independent career at MIT in 2018. The Wendlandt group is interested in the development and mechanistic elucidation of new selective catalytic reactions.


Yvette Wong

Yvette Wong, Ph.D.

Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Project Title: The Dynamic Architecture of Living Cells: Uncovering Intra-Organelle Events at Nanoscale Levels
Grant ID: DP2-GM146322
Funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences

Yvette Wong is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, IL. She received her B.A. in Mathematics & Biology from Cornell University, and her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Pennsylvania studying the role of autophagy in neurodegeneration with her PhD thesis advisor Dr. Erika Holzbaur. She then conducted her postdoctoral research with Dr. Dimitri Krainc at Northwestern University where she identified mitochondria-lysosome contact sites as important regulators of organelle dynamics which are misregulated by multiple neurodegenerative diseases. Her lab uses super-resolution live cell microscopy to discover new organelle dynamics and their roles in human disease pathogenesis, to expand our understanding of cell biology and neuroscience. Yvette Wong is also the recipient of the Saul Winegrad Outstanding Neuroscience PhD Thesis Award, the Warren Alpert Foundation Distinguished Scholars Award in Neuroscience, and the NIH K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award.


Nicholas Wu

Nicholas C. Wu, Ph.D.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Project Title: High-Throughput Identification of Antibody Features for Sequence-Based Epitope Prediction
Grant ID: DP2-AT011966

Nicholas Wu is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). He received his B.S. from the University of Virginia and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles with Dr. Ren Sun. He then completed his postdoctoral training with Dr. Ian Wilson and Dr. Andrew Ward at Scripps Research. At UIUC, the Wu lab studies the molecular features of interaction between antibodies and viral antigens. In addition to the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, the Wu lab is supported by an NIH Pathway to Independence Award.


Jing Yan

Jing Yan, Ph.D.

Yale University

Project Title: Tracking Single-Cell Gene Expression Heterogeneity and Its Consequences in Bacterial Biofilms
Grant ID: DP2-GM146253

Jing Yan is currently an Assistant Professor of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology and a member of the Quantitative Biology Institute at Yale. He obtained his B.S. degree from the College of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering at Peking University, with extensive undergraduate research experience in organic synthesis. In 2009, he switched to the field of soft matter physics and pursued Ph.D. degree in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In 2014, he stumbled into microbiology at Princeton as a joint postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Molecular Biology and Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. He received the Career Award at the Scientific Interface from Burroughs Wellcome Fund in 2016.


Shuang Zhao

Shuang (George) Zhao, M.D., M.S.E.

University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health; William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital

Project Title: Dynamic Molecular Evoluation of Treatment Resistant Cancer
Grant ID: DP2-CA271832

I am an assistant professor in the Department of Human Oncology. I completed my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Computer Science & Engineering with a focus on Intelligent Systems at the University of Michigan, followed by my MD at the University of Michigan Medical School. After a transitional year internship at Beaumont Hospital – Dearborn, I returned to the University of Michigan for residency training in radiation oncology under the American Board of Radiology’s Holman Pathway. My independent translational research laboratory focuses on using advances in sequencing and computational techniques to develop biomarkers of treatment response and resistance. I co-direct the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center Circulating Biomarker Core, where we work on translating liquid biopsy technology into the clinic.


Jian Zhou

Jian Zhou, Ph.D.

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Project Title: Sequence Models of Genome Regulatory Architecture in 3D
Grant ID: DP2-GM146336
Funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences

Jian Zhou is an Assistant Professor in the Lyda Hill Department of Bioinformatics at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. His lab is interested in machine learning and genomics, especially computational methods for understanding sequence-based regulation of chromatin organization, 3D genome, and transcription. He received his B.S. in Biological Sciences from Peking University and his Ph.D. in Quantitative and Computational Biology from Princeton University in the lab of Dr. Olga Troyanskaya. He then joined the Flatiron Institute of Simons Foundation as a Flatiron Research Fellow, prior to starting his own research group at UTSW. In addition to receiving the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, he is also a recipient of Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) Recruitment of First-Time, Tenure-Track Faculty Member award and a Lupe Murchison Foundation Scholar in Medical Research.

This page last reviewed on October 21, 2021