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Program Snapshot

Part of the Common Fund's High-Risk, High-Reward Research program, the Transformative Research Award supports exceptionally innovative, unconventional, paradigm-shifting research projects that are inherently risky and untested.


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Ultra-Resolution Microscopy

Peng Yin, a 2010 New Innovator and 2013 Transformative Research awardee, enhanced DNA nanotechnology-powered super-resolution microscopy to visualize distinct molecules five nanometers apart. The method opens the way for researchers to study individual molecular features in molecular complexes.

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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.

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Manipulating the Electron Transport Chain

Vamsi Mootha, a 2011 Transformative Researcher, created a nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) producing bacteria Lactobacillus brevis (LbNOX) for manipulating the crucial electron transport system in mitochondria. Increasing NAD+ in the cytosol or mitochondria improved proliferative and metabolic defects caused by an impaired electron transport chain.
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Application Information

Hand filling out a form •  Open to individuals or teams at all career stages
•  No limits on budget requests
•  Find IC-specific guidelines for Clinical Research
•  Find an IC contact for Scientific Research
•  More information
Application Status
FY 2016 Under Review
FY 2017

Due October 7, 2016

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High Risk, High Reward Research Symposium
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Julie Dunning Hotopp

Julie Dunning Hotopp Featured in NIH Director's Blog


Julie Dunning Hotopp, a 2015 Transformative Researcher, is featured in the NIH Director's Blog discussing her work on bacterial gene transfer into the human genome and its impact on human cancers. While there is evidence that cancerous cells harbor more bacterial genes, it isn't clear if the bacterial genes cause the cancer or if cancer is more prone to taking in the genes, a relationship Dunning Hotopp intends to elucidate.

Dianne Newman

Dianne Newman Gives NIH Director's Wednesday Afternoon Lecture


Dianne Newman spoke at the January 13, 2016, NIH Director's Wednesday Afternoon Lecture on “The Importance of Growing Slowly: Roles for Redox Active “Antibiotics” in Microbial Survial.” Watch the Videocast.

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Program Booklet  •  Abstracts  •  Photos   •  Videocasts for Day 1Day 2, and Day 3

Gold Trophy

Edward Boyden and Karl Deisseroth Receive 2016 Life Sciences Breakthrough Prize


Edward Boyden (2007 New Innovator, 2012 and 2013 Transformative Research, and 2013 Pioneer awardee) and Karl Deisseroth (2005 Pioneer and 2012 Transformative Research awardee) were awarded $3 million each for the 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences

Sanjay Jain Child with Drug-Resistant TB Successfully Treated


Sanjay Jain, a 2014 awardee, successfully treated a 2-year old child with a highly virulent form of tuberculosis known as extensively drug-resistant (XDR) TB. The case is the first detailed account of a young child in the United States being diagnosed and treated for XDR TB. The case is published online in the November 16 edition of The Lancet Infectious Diseases. Read more at the Washington Post .

HRHRView Awardee Bios  •  Read Press Release

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