Trevor Bedford, Cigall Kadoch among this year's incoming HHMI investigators
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute — the nonprofit known for doling out generous investigator awards to biopharma’s rising stars — has selected its Class of 2021.
This year’s list of 33 investigators features some noteworthy names, including Fred Hutchinson’s Trevor Bedford, who sounded the alarm on the first known community transmission of Covid-19 in the US last February; Foghorn founder and Dana-Farber researcher Cigall Kadoch, who recently joined Endpoints News for a panel discussion during #ESMO21; and award-winning Johns Hopkins stem cell researcher Xin Chen.
“HHMI is committed to giving outstanding biomedical scientists the time, resources, and freedom they need to explore uncharted scientific territory,” president Erin O’Shea said in a statement.
So far, the institute has churned out 32 Nobel Prize winners, including gene therapy pioneer Jennifer Doudna and RNA expert Thomas Cech. And the funding is nothing to scoff at.
HHMI says it’ll invest $300 million in this year’s new investigators, who are joining HHMI’s community of about 250 scientists. Each new investigator will receive roughly $9 million over a seven-year term, which is renewable pending a scientific review.
A few years ago, HHMI landed itself in some hot water when two former investigators, Jeannie Lee and Vivian Cheung, alleged they were unfairly denied renewal of grants because of their sex, age, national origin or disability. In response to a Science piece about the allegations published in 2019, O’Shea wrote that the institute is “fully confident in the integrity of our review process.”
Employing scientists as HHMI Investigators, rather than simply handing out research grants, allows HHMI to focus on “people, not projects,” O’Shea said in a statement about the new class of investigators on Thursday.
This year’s full class includes:
Emily Balskus of Harvard University; Gregory Barton of UC-Berkeley; Diana Bautista of UC-Berkeley; Trevor Bedford of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center; Flaminia Catteruccia of Harvard University; Xin Chen of Johns Hopkins University; Rhiju Das of Stanford University; Kafui Dzirasa of Duke University; Nels Elde of the University of Utah; Cagla Eroglu of Duke University; Cassandra Extavour of Harvard University; Chenghua Gu of Harvard University; Sun Hur of Boston Children’s Hospital; Martin Jonikas of Princeton University; Cigall Kadoch of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; Shingo Kajimura of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center; Daniel Kronauer of The Rockefeller University; Frederick Matsen IV of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center; Ian Maze of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; John McCutcheon of Arizona State University; Michelle Monje of Stanford University; Daniel Mucida of The Rockefeller University; Dana Pe’er of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; Kristy Red-Horse of Stanford University; Vanessa Ruta of The Rockefeller University; David Savage of UC-Berkeley; Mikhail Shapiro of the California Institute of Technology; Vincent Tagliabracci of the UT-Southwestern Medical Center; Benjamin Tu of the UT-Southwestern Medical Center; Kay Tye of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies; David Veesler of the University of Washington; Elizabeth Villa of UC-San Diego; and Jochen Zimmer of the University of Virginia.