There won't be any covered wagons, but at the second annual NIH
Director's Pioneer Award Symposium on Tuesday, Sept. 19, the frontier
will take center stage. The scientific frontier, that is.
The Pioneer Award program, launched in 2004 as part of the NIH
Roadmap for Medical Research, supports exceptionally creative scientists
who take highly innovative approaches to major challenges in biomedical
research. NIH made 9 awards in 2004 and 13 more in 2005.
"The recipients of the NIH Director's Pioneer Award represent
some of the brightest minds in science addressing high-risk and
potential high-impact research," said NIH director Dr. Elias Zerhouni. "This
symposium offers a rare opportunity to hear about their exciting
progress in a broad spectrum of cutting-edge areas, from infectious
disease to human behavior."
The symposium takes place in Masur Auditorium, Bldg. 10. Attendance
is free and there is no need to register.
The event opens at 8:15 a.m. with introductory remarks by Zerhouni
and NIGMS director Dr. Jeremy Berg, co-chair of the committee that
oversees the Pioneer Award program. Most of the day is devoted
to individual talks by the 2005 award recipients, with a late-morning
shift of gears for the announcement of the 2006 group of awardees.
The concluding session, from 3:40 to 5:30 p.m., combines poster
presentations by 2004 award recipients and members of their labs
with a concurrent reception.
The presenters include:
- Stanford University scientist Karl Deisseroth, who is developing
new technologies for the noninvasive imaging and control of brain
circuits as they operate in real time within living, intact tissue.
He hopes that this work will lead to basic neuroscience insights
as well as new understanding of — and treatments for — neurological
and psychiatric disorders.
- Vicki Chandler of the University of Arizona, who studies paramutation,
a process by which a gene from one parent communicates a change
to the corresponding gene from the other parent. Such interactions
could contribute to unexpected inheritance patterns and make
it difficult to identify genes involved in complex human diseases.
- Leda Cosmides of the University of California, Santa Barbara,
who applies evolutionary and computational approaches to the
study of human motivation. She is working to identify various
factors that influence anger, altruism, and sexual attraction.
- Thomas Rando of the University of Wisconsin, who investigates
the effects of aging in stem cells. He is beginning to understand
which elements of "youthful" and "aged" cellular environments
affect stem cell function.
- Johns Hopkins researcher Nathan Wolfe, who works on three continents
and uses methods from virology, ecology, evolutionary biology
and anthropology to spot new viruses as they emerge in people.
And that's only a taste of the day's agenda. The other 2005 award
recipients who will present their research at the symposium are
Hollis Cline of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Titia de Lange of
Rockefeller University, Pehr Harbury of Stanford University School
of Medicine, Erich Jarvis of Duke University Medical Center, Derek
Smith of the University of Cambridge, Giulio Tononi of the University
of Wisconsin Medical School, Clare Waterman-Storer of the Scripps
Research Institute and Junying Yuan of Harvard Medical School.
The symposium agenda, with links to biographical sketches of the
speakers, is at http://nihroadmap.nih.gov/pioneer/symposium2006/.
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