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17 of America's Most Promising Scientists Selected as 2009 Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences

PHILADELPHIA, June 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pew Charitable Trusts today named 17 early-career scientists as Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences. Scholars receive a $240,000 award over four years to help support their work, which this year includes research related to cancer, Parkinson's disease, birth defects and epilepsy. The Scholars also gain inclusion into a select community of scientists that includes Nobel Prize winners, MacArthur Fellows and recipients of the Albert Lasker Medical Research Award.

Now in its 25th year, the Program has invested more than $125 million to fund over 460 scholars.

The selection process for the Pew Scholars is rigorously competitive. Applicants must be nominated by an invited institution and must demonstrate excellence and innovation in their research. This year, 149 institutions were invited to nominate a candidate in basic biomedical research, and 111 eligible nominations were received.

"Pew is thrilled to celebrate 25 successful years for the Biomedical Scholars program," said Rebecca W. Rimel, President and CEO of The Pew Charitable Trusts. "Not only does the program provide extraordinary scientists with the resources to carry out significant research early in their careers, it also offers them the opportunity to exchange ideas and foster relationships during the annual meetings and various networking activities. These gatherings have often led to collaborations that have resulted in significant scientific progress."

"The Pew Biomedical Scholars are a synergistic community whose connections are reinforced over the years," said Craig C. Mello, Ph.D., a 1995 Pew Scholar and a 2006 Nobel laureate in physiology or medicine, and the chair of the national advisory committee for the program. "I have no doubt that this immensely talented and diverse new class of Pew Scholars will have a major impact on biomedical research through their contributions as part of the Pew community and on science as a whole."

The 2009 Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences are:

Frank Alber, Ph.D.

University of Southern California

Computational biochemistry focused on higher-order DNA structure

Diana M. Bautista, Ph.D.

University of California, Berkeley

Neuroscience of touch and pain

Jon P. Boyle, Ph.D.

University of Pittsburgh

Host-pathogen interactions that underlie Toxoplasmosis

Zev D. Bryant, Ph.D.

Stanford University

Biophysics, bioengineering of molecular motors

Qing R. Fan, Ph.D.

Columbia University

Structural biology

Kevin A. Janes, Ph.D.

University of Virginia

Bioengineering, systems biology, cancer-cell biology

John K. Kim, Ph.D.

University of Michigan

Gene regulation by small RNAs

Alexander Meissner, Ph.D.

Harvard University

Epigenetic regulation of stem cells

Jennifer G. DeLuca, Ph.D.

Colorado State University

Mechanisms of mitotic chromosome segregation

Patrick J. Paddison, Ph.D.

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Stem cell and cancer biology

Joseph R. Pomerening, Ph.D.

Indiana University

Systems biology, cell cycle control

Nicholas J. Priebe, Ph.D.

University of Texas at Austin

Visual neurobiology

Melissa M. Rolls, Ph.D.

The Pennsylvania State University

Neuron degeneration

Charles G. Mullighan, M.D.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

Genetics and biology of acute leukemia

Joshua W. Shaevitz, Ph.D.

Princeton University

Bacterial biophysics

Ben Z. Stanger, M.D., Ph.D.

University of Pennsylvania

Developmental biology related to cellular growth

R. Grace Zhai, Ph.D.

University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine

Neuron protection and repair mechanisms

For full biographies and information regarding the scholars' research, please visit

The Pew Charitable Trusts ( is driven by the power of knowledge to solve today's most challenging problems. Pew applies a rigorous, analytical approach to improve public policy, inform the public and stimulate civic life. We partner with a diverse range of donors, public and private organizations and concerned citizens who share our commitment to fact-based solutions and goal-driven investments to improve society.

SOURCE Pew Charitable Trusts
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