Jakob von Moltke Named one of 15 Searle Scholars scientists for 2018

The new class of Searle Scholars are pursuing fundamental, ground-breaking research in chemistry and the biomedical sciences and will each receive an award of $300,000 in flexible funding to support his or her work over the next three years.

The Searle Scholars Program makes grants to selected universities and research centers to support the independent research of exceptional young faculty in the biomedical sciences and chemistry who have recently been appointed as assistant professors on a tenure-track appointment. The Program’s Scientific Director appoints an Advisory Board of eminent scientists who choose the Scholars based on rigorous standards aimed at finding the most creative talent interested in pursuing an academic research career. This year, 198 applications were considered from nominations by 136 universities and research institutions.

“Some of the Scholars are conducting research of a purely basic kind, such as probing the structure and dynamics of protein assemblies, examining the mechanisms of meiosis and gene regulation, and working out what circuits in the brain underlie complex behaviors,” remarked Doug Fambrough, scientific director for the Searle Scholars Program. “Others have developed research projects likely to have immediate application to human health, including cancer, dengue fever, tuberculosis, and infections caused by microsporidia and parasitic worms. A characteristic of all the new Scholars is their willingness to take on ambitious and often risky research projects that, if successful, will have enormous impact in their scientific fields. This has always been a defining attribute of Searle Scholars and it is remarkable how often those projects succeed.”

Since 1981, 602 scientists have been named Searle Scholars. Including this year, the Program has awarded more than $134 million. Seventy-five Searle Scholars have been inducted into the National Academy of Sciences. Seventeen Scholars have been recognized with a MacArthur Fellowship, known as the “genius grant,” and a Searle Scholar has been awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry.

About the Searle Scholars Program

The Searle Scholars Program supports high risk, high reward research across a broad range of scientific disciplines. Grants are $300,000 for a three-year term with $100,000 payable each year of the grant. The Searle Scholars Program is funded through grants from the family trusts to The Chicago Community Trust and administered by Kinship Foundation, the private operating foundation that manages the institutional philanthropy of the Searle Family. For more information about the Searle Scholars Program visit www.searlescholars.net.

2018 class of Searle Scholars:

Dr. Jakob H. von Moltke
University of Washington, Department of Immunology
Initiation of Immune Responses by Parasitic Worms and Allergens

Dr. Andrés Bendesky
Colombia University, Zuckerman Institute
Using Fighting (Betta) Fish to Understand the Mechanisms of Aggression

Dr. Gira Bhabha
New York University School of Medicine
How Ballistic Organelles Drive Host Cell Invasion

Dr. Anne-Ruxandra Carvunis
University of Pittsburgh
The Functional Landscape of the Proto-proteome

Dr. Lydia Finley
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Metabolic Coordination of Tumor Suppression

Dr. Doeke R. Hekstra
Harvard University
Towards Mechanical Understanding and Control of Proteins

Dr. Richard K. Hite
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Structural Characterization of the Polymodal Regulation Inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate Receptor Gating

Dr. Enfu Hui
University of California, San Diego
Mechanistic Dissection of Cancer Immunotherapy Targets

Dr. Kathryn D. Meyer
Duke University
Epitranscriptomic Control of Local Translation in Neurons

Dr. Priya Rajasethupathy
The Rockefeller University
Memory Processing in Prefrontal Microcircuits

Dr. Hesper Rego
Yale University
Causes and Consequences of Pathogen Heterogeneity in Tuberculosis

Dr. Mark Sheffield
The University of Chicago
The Mechanisms of Memory Formation in Behaving Mice

Dr. Vincent S. Tagliabracci
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
Expanding the Human Kinome

Dr. Taia Wang
Stanford University
Immune Determinants of Dengue Disease Severity

Dr. Sarah E. Zanders
Stowers Institute for Medical Research
Selfish Genes in Gametogenesis

The Searle Scholars Program is funded through the Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust.