Yale Scientists Win Prestigious NIH Awards for Transformative Research

Two major Yale research projects are among twenty that have been awarded funding through the prestigious National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director’s Transformative Research Projects (T-R01) program. According to NIH, the T-R01 program “encourages exploration of exceptionally innovative and original research ideas that have the potential for extraordinary impact, addressing either basic science or clinical challenges.”

The awards will total up to $64 million over five years, for all 20 projects.

Among the projects awarded funding are two from Yale:

Richard A. Flavell, Ph.D., FRS, Sterling Professor and Chair, Department of Immunobiology, Yale School of Medicine and Yale Cancer Center, and Howard Hughes Medical Investigator; Madhav Dhodapkar, M.D., Professor of Hematology and Immunobiology, Yale School of Medicine and Yale Cancer Center; and Markus G. Manz, M.D., Professor of Hematology, University Hospital, Zurich, Switzerland:

  • Project: Generate and utilize mice that have a bone marrow microenvironment that mimics that found in human patients. This will make it possible to propagate primary human hematologic cancers, and thus allow the study of the biology, as well as therapeutic targeting, of human tumors in a complex preclinical setting.

Liguo Wang, Ph.D., Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology, Yale School of Medicine:

  • Structure of a Membrane Protein in a Lipid Membrane – Cryo-EM Study of the HCN Channel: Create a novel research platform to study the various structures of membrane proteins in their native lipid membrane environments, potentially leading to the identification of new targets for therapy.

Through the T-R01 awards, NIH explains, scientists are “spurred to rethink the way science is conducted and propose truly daring ideas.”

“Complex research projects, even exceptionally high impact ones, are tough to get funded without the necessary resources to assemble teams and collect preliminary data. The TR01 awards provide a way for these high impact projects to be pursued,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.

More information on the Transformative R01 Award is at http://commonfund.nih.gov/T-R01. For descriptions of the 2010 recipients’ research plans, see http://commonfund.nih.gov/T-R01/Recipients10.asp

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Helen Dodson: helen.dodson@yale.edu, 203-436-3984