Two Yale Faculty Receive Presidential Early Career Awards
Two Yale School of Medicine researchers—Susan Kaech and Sven-Eric Jordt—this week each received a Presidential Early Career Award, which is the highest honor that a beginning scientist or engineer can receive in the United States.
They were among 12 recipients of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), which are intended to identify and honor outstanding researchers who are beginning their independent research careers. All were honored at a White House ceremony Nov. 1.
“The National Institutes of Health is extraordinarily proud of supporting 12 PECASE winners who have, early in their research careers, shown exceptional potential for scientific leadership during the 21st century—the essence of this award,” said NIH Director Elias Zerhouni, M.D. “We look forward to continued innovation from these outstanding investigators as they push the frontiers of medical research during this pivotal time for scientific discovery.”
The researchers are selected by the White House Office of Science and Technology. The award includes five years of support and is based on two criteria: innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology, and community service demonstrated through scientific leadership, education, or community outreach. The honored scientists are nominated by the NIH, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Education, the Department of Commerce, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Kaech, assistant professor of immunobiology, was selected for mentoring undergraduate and graduate students as well as postdoctoral fellows, and for characterizing the development of memory T cells in long-term immune protection. Memory T and B cells constitute the body’s primary system of defense against reoccurring infectious disease. The ability to form these cells is the ultimate goal of vaccination.
Jordt, assistant professor of pharmacology, was honored for conducting ethics seminars for incoming students, and for his research on the effects of environmental irritants in airway diseases and inflammation. His research focuses on how these irritants contribute to hypersensitivity and chronic inflammation in asthma, allergy, chronic cough, and dermatitis.
The PECASE was established in 1996 by the National Science and Technology Council to support the continued development of the awardees’ research, foster innovative and far-reaching developments in science and technology, increase awareness of careers in science and engineering, give recognition to the scientific missions of participating agencies, enhance connections between fundamental research and national goals, and highlight the importance of science and technology for the nation’s future.