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The NIH Director

Forbes Magazine names 5 NIH Director’s EIA Awardees among Top Science and Innovation “30 under 30” for 2011

The NIH Director's Early Independence Award is a new funding mechanism that provides an opportunity for exceptional junior scientists to "skip the post-doc," and start an independent research career at a supportive Institution directly following the completion of their graduate degree or clinical residency.

Five of the top honored "30 under 30" in Science and Innovation by Forbes Magazine are NIH Early Independence Awardees for 2011.  Learn more about these outstanding young scientists:

John Calarco, Ph.D.

John Calarco,  Ph.D.

Investigating the role of alternative splicing regulatory networks in nervous system development and function

John Calarco obtained his doctoral degree from the University of Toronto in the Department of Molecular Genetics. During his Ph.D. work, he studied the question of how alternative pre-mRNA splicing, a key gene regulatory step in metazoans, contributes to development and function of the nervous system. He has applied numerous genome-wide and directed approaches to investigate this question, resulting in several interesting observations regarding the evolution and impact of alternative splicing regulation in the nervous system. With the help of funding from this NIH award, Calarco will have the opportunity to continue pursuing this research as a Bauer Fellow in the Center for Systems Biology at Harvard University.

James S. Fraser, Ph.D.

James S.  Fraser, Ph.D.

The impact of mutation on the conformations and recognition of ubiquitin

James Fraser studied cell and developmental biology as an undergraduate at McGill University and performed summer research in evolutionary genomics at the University of Toronto.  As a graduate student at UC Berkeley with Tom Alber, he developed new experimental and computational methods to investigate protein conformational dynamics by X-ray crystallography. During his Ph.D., he studied directed evolution as an EMBO short-term fellow in Dan Tawfik’s lab at the Weizmann Institute of Science.  In January 2011, Fraser started as a qb3@UCSF Fellow, where his lab focuses on the role of protein motions in catalysis, ligand binding, and allostery.

Jeffrey M. Kidd, Ph.D.

Jeffrey M.  Kidd, Ph.D.

Characterizing the global architecture of genomic diversity

Jeffrey Kidd received his PhD in 2010 from the Department of Genome Science at the University of Washington, Seattle WA.  Under the mentorship of Dr. Evan E. Eichler, he characterized genomic structural variation among humans, giving insight into the mutational mechanisms that alter the content and organization of the human genome.  Kidd is currently a postdoctoral scholar working with Dr. Carlos D. Bustamante in the Department of Genetics at Stanford University, where he applies approaches from genomics and population genetics to understand how the past history of human populations impacts the variation observed around the world today.  In January 2012, Kidd will establish his own research group on genomic variation as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Michigan.

Harris H. Wang, Ph.D.

Harris H.  Wang, Ph.D.

Functional metagenomic reprogramminig of the human microbiome through mobilome engineering

Harris Wang is a Fellow at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School. Harris holds B.S. degrees from MIT in Physics and Mathematics and a Ph.D. from Harvard University in Biophysics. He also received a joint degree from Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology in Medical Engineering and Medical Physics. In 2009, Harris won the Grand Prize in the National Inventor Hall of Fame's Collegiate Inventors Competition. Wang has been developing foundational technologies in genome engineering to rapidly program cells with improved function and new traits.

Daniela Witten, Ph.D.

Daniela Witten, Ph.D.

High-dimensional unsupervised learning with applications to genomics

Daniela Witten is an assistant professor in the Department of Biostatistics at the University of Washington School of Public Health, an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Statistics at the University of Washington, and an affiliate investigator at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.  Her research involves the development of statistical tools for the analysis of large-scale biological data sets, such as gene expression, DNA copy number, and DNA sequencing data. At Stanford University she received a bachelor's degree in Mathematics and Biology with Honors and Distinction in 2005, and a doctorate in Statistics in 2010 under the supervision of Dr. Robert Tibshirani. Her awards include a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship (2006-2009), the Gertrude Cox Scholarship from the American Statistical Association (2008), the Genentech Endowed Professorship in Biostatistics at the University of Washington (2010-2011), and the David Byar Young Investigator Award from the American Statistical Association (2011). Witten currently serves on an Institute of Medicine committee reviewing the use of omics-based tests in clinical trials, and as an associate editor for the Journal of Computational and Graphical Statistics.

This page last reviewed on January 4, 2012

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