Kaech Receives HHMI Support for Her Work on T Cells

Yale faculty member Susan Kaech is one of 50 researchers nationwide named as Early Career Scientist by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI).

This award was created by the HHMI to fuel the creative energy of young scientists, who are feeling the strains of the reductions in federal funding in scientific research and education in this country. The award includes a research grant of $1.5 million over six years to support Kaech’s research in immunology. In addition, HHMI will pay her salary and cover other lab expenses.

Kaech, assistant professor of immunology, is an expert on protective T cells, which are generated by the immune system to combat infections. In particular, she is focusing on memory T cells, which are long-lived cells that remember pathogens from prior infections and can provide long-term protection against reinfection. Kaech is working on ways to enhance responses to infection and improving vaccines.

“This award is an amazing honor and I feel extremely fortunate that my lab’s contributions to the field have been recognized so highly by my colleagues,” Kaech said.

The selected scientists, who are at 33 institutions across the United States, have led their own laboratories for two to six years. During that time, many have made considerable contributions to biomedical research. Energetic and passionate about a broad range of scientific questions, this group of scientists is at a career stage that many consider to be a scientist’s most productive - and most vulnerable, note HHMI officials.

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