SAN DIEGO (September 24, 2009) A scientist at the La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology has received one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)'s top awards -- the 2009 NIH Director's Pioneer Award. The prestigious prize carries with it funding for total costs of up to $4.7 million over five years, and is designed to support the work of exceptionally creative scientists, whose novel proposals offer the potential to make extraordinary contributions to human health.
Hilde Cheroutre, Ph.D., received the award during the Pioneer Award Symposium today at the NIH headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland. NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., announced the winners. Dr. Cheroutre is one of a select group of 18 scientists nationwide chosen for the 2009 prize from among more than 2,300 applicants. The award will fund her innovative research proposal that, if successful, would create a new way of detecting, treating and possibly preventing autoimmune diseases, with the potential for identifying high risk for autoimmunity in newborns.
In announcing the winners, the NIH said the awards are part of its ongoing efforts to encourage highly creative scientists to explore bold ideas that have the potential to catapult fields forward and speed the translation of research into improved health.
"Leaps in knowledge often result from exceptional minds exploring ideas that were considered risky at their inception, especially in the absence of strong supportive data," said an NIH statement describing the awards. "The changing face of biomedical research calls for support of aggressive risk-taking and innovation that will produce tomorrow's conceptual and technological breakthroughs."
Nilabh Shastri, Ph.D., a prominent scientist and immunology professor at UC Berkeley, who previously worked with Dr. Cheroutre, said her selection "justifies the existence of such awards."
"Dr. Cheroutre possesses a remarkable and rare c
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La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology