Terra Sigillata

Hearty congratulations this morning to a group of early-career investigators who received this award yesterday in Washington, DC:

The Presidential Award for Early Career Scientists and Engineers was established in 1996 and is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on outstanding scientists and engineers beginning their independent careers. [emphasis mine] Awardees are selected on the basis of two criteria: pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology; and a commitment to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education or community outreach. Winning scientists are awarded a research grant for up to five years to further their studies in support of critical government missions. This year, eleven federal departments and agencies nominated 100 young scientists and engineers who showed exceptional promise for leadership in science and technology. Drs. Hinds and Torres are 2 of 12 NIH grantees to receive the prestigious PECASE award.

According to the NIDA press release:

Bruce J. Hinds, III, Ph.D., associate professor of chemical and materials engineering at the University of Kentucky, is being recognized for his work to improve the delivery of drugs that treat nicotine dependence through a novel skin patch. Gonzalo E. Torres, Ph.D., assistant professor of neurobiology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, is being cited for his research on cellular and molecular regulation in the brain and its relationship to psychiatric disorders and drug addiction.

As I’ve remarked previously, NIDA is one of the NIH Institutes and Centers with a very active public relations and news office so this was the only press release I found. However, ten other NIH-funded scientists also received the PECASE; here’s the complete list:

Thomas P. Cappola, M.D., Sc.M. (University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine)
His research on the use of genetic and genomic approaches for studying ventricular remodeling in humans is supported by a grant from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI).

Pablo A. Celnik, M.D. (Johns Hopkins Hospital)
His research on the underlying mechanisms of plasticity in the central nervous system in order to develop novel therapeutic approaches that promote recovery of function following an injury is supported by a grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute on Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).

Felicia D. Goodrum, Ph.D. (University of Arizona)
Her research on hematopoetic progenitor cells and their influence on latency in human cytomegalovirus infections is supported by a grant from the National Institute on Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

Bruce J. Hinds, III, Ph.D. (University of Kentucky)
His research on the use of gated carbon nanotube membranes for transdermal drug delivery is supported by a grant from National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

Helen H. Lu, Ph.D. (Columbia University)
Her work on the use of biomimetic scaffolds to promote chondrocyte-mediated regeneration of the interface between soft tissue and bone is supported by a grant from the National Institute on Arthritis Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS).

Ulrike Peters, Ph.D., M.P.H. (Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center)
Her research on selenium and the interaction of genetic variations and nutrition on cancer prevention is supported by the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

Jeremy F. Reiter, M.D., Ph.D. (University of California at San Francisco)
His research on the role of the proto-oncogene Smoothened and its interaction with the primary cilium in the development of cancer is supported by a grant from the National Institute on Arthritis Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS).

Marisa Roberto, Ph.D. (The Scripps Research Institute)
Her research on neuropeptides, neuronal function and synaptic communication related to alcohol and other drugs of abuse is supported by a grant from the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse (NIAAA).

Erica Ollmann Saphire, Ph.D. (The Scripps Research Institute)
Her studies on the role of glycoproteins in the pathogenicity and immunogenicity of Ebola virus is supported by a grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

Oscar E. Suman, Ph.D. (Shriner’s Hospital for Children, University of Texas Medical Branch)
His research on supervised and structured aerobic and resistance exercise on muscle mass and bone mass in severely burned children is supported by a grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute on Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).

Kristin V. Tarbell, Ph.D. (National Institutes of Health Intramural Research Program)
Her research on the role of dendritic cells on T cell mediated autoimmune diseases such as diabetes is supported by the National Institute on Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).

Gonzalo E. Torres, Ph.D. (University of Pittsburgh)
His research on cellular and molecular regulation of monoamine transporters in brain and the relationship to psychiatric disorders and drug addiction is supported by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

We often don’t do enough in the biomedical sciences to promote the work of early-career investigators. But these people are our future. Their current work and future promise should be promoted and, more importantly, supported financially.

Congratulations to all of this year’s Presidential Early Career Award recipients.