Pew’s 2022 class of Innovation Fund Investigators to tackle biology, disease research

By The Science Advisory Board staff writers

September 28, 2022 -- The Pew Charitable Trusts has announced its 2022 class of Innovation Fund Investigators. The six pairs of researchers are alums of Pew’s biomedical programs in the U.S. and Latin America with expertise in subjects ranging from molecular biology and neuroscience to genetics and biochemistry.

The fund, which is supported by the Kathryn W. Davis Peace by Pieces Fund, aims to promote creative and cross-disciplinary partnerships among alums of Pew's biomedical scholar and Latin American fellow programs.

The following are this year's Innovation Fund teams and research projects:

  • P. Todd Stukenberg (University of Virginia School of Medicine) and Hui Zong (University of Virginia School of Medicine) who will develop a new mouse model that better represents the way human cancers develop.
  • Sarah Woodson (Johns Hopkins University) and Christian Kaiser (Johns Hopkins University) who will study how repeat RNAs and their complexes with proteins cause neurotoxicity and neurodegeneration.
  • David Mendoza-Cózatl (University of Missouri) and Clarissa Nobile (University of California, Merced) who will study how plants and microbes interact in the context of iron uptake and utilization.
  • Susana Castro-Obregón (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) and Ivan Velasco (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) who will explore the protective mechanisms against aging in naked mole rats and Mexican axolotls.
  • Rajat Rohatgi (Stanford University) and Ethan Lee (Vanderbilt University) who will investigate the regulation of the APC protein and its interacting proteins in colorectal cancer.
  • Mikhail Shapiro (California Institute of Technology) and Michael Halassa (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) who will explore the connection between two areas of the brain -- the prefrontal cortex and the mediodorsal thalamus -- in modulating decision-making in patients with schizophrenia.
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