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2 University of Illinois researchers named HHMI investigators
Date:5/28/2008

d department head Andrew Belmont. The vast majority of scientists devote their careers to making steady but incremental progress on previously established lines of research. In contrast, a very select, very small group of scientists instead pioneer completely new approaches and methodologies, which then serve a much broader community.

Dr. Newmark falls into the latter class of scientists, and it is tremendously satisfying to see the HHMI reward him for his vision, risk-taking and hard work, Belmont said.

Belmont noted that Newmark has worked since his days as a postdoctoral fellow to turn planarians into a modern biological model organism.

He and his colleagues are now well on their way toward this goal capturing the enthusiasm of a broader community of developmental biologists who have embraced the potential of this model system for studying fundamental questions related to regeneration and stem-cell biology. We are all excited as we anticipate his laboratorys future progress in these fields that will now be greatly facilitated by HHMI funding, Belmont said.

Newmark was one of five recipients nationwide of the 2003 Damon Runyon Scholar Award and he received a 2003 CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation. He is a faculty member of the Neuroscience Program and an affiliate of the Institute for Genomic Biology.

As an HHMI investigator, van der Donk will work to identify and exploit new classes of compounds that have potential as antibiotics. He studies microbial agents that have antibiotic properties but which have so far not been developed for therapeutic use in humans. He will also make use of rich data sources, such as genome databases, to search for promising compounds.

Van der Donk is a co-principal investigator on a team of researchers at Illinois and the University of Wisconsin that last year received a five-year, $7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to discover, engineer and p
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Contact: Diana Yates
diya@illinois.edu
217-333-5802
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Source:Eurekalert

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