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UF scientist tapped by Howard Hughes Medical Institute to pursue 'best ideas'
Date:3/26/2009

GAINESVILLE, Fla. A University of Florida scientist whose interest in embryonic development and evolution led him to discover the molecular building blocks that shape appendages ranging from feet to flippers was named a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Early Career Scientist today (Thursday, March 26), a distinction given to only 50 researchers in the United States.

Martin Cohn, a developmental biologist and a member of the UF Genetics Institute, became the only Florida scientist to be selected for the competitive HHMI program, placing UF in the company of research institutions such as Stanford University, Harvard University and The Johns Hopkins University.

The HHMI Early Career Scientist program is intended to provide support to the nation's best early career faculty who have reached a critical point in establishing vibrant research programs.

"HHMI's support to stellar scientists like Dr. Cohn who are at the peak of their creativity is a wise investment, and I think there will be inevitable returns in terms of scientific discoveries and biomedical progress," said Win Phillips, UF's vice president for research.

Researchers from U.S. universities and medical schools chosen for the Early Career Scientist Program become HHMI employees, but remain at their home institutions, receiving their salary plus $1.5 million in laboratory support over six years to pay the costs associated with a high-level research program.

"We saw a tremendous opportunity for HHMI to impact the research community by freeing promising scientists to pursue their best ideas during this early stage of their careers," said HHMI President Thomas R. Cech. "At the same time, we hope that our investment in these 50 faculty will free the resources of other agencies to support the work of other outstanding early career scientists."

Cohn became interested in the evolution of limbs while an undergraduate at the University of Texas at Austin. He rece
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Contact: John Pastor
jdpastor@ufl.edu
352-273-5815
University of Florida
Source:Eurekalert

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