Yale researchers named Hanna Gray Fellows at HHMI

Cesar De Leon and Rodolfo Urbano have been selected as Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Hanna Gray Fellows. They join 13 other outstanding early career scientists from around the country who were awarded this honor.

Cesar De Leon
Cesar De Leon

De Leon joined the Craig Crews laboratory as a postdoctoral associate after completing his Ph.D. at University of Southern California. “My current research is focused on novel molecules for preventing or halting neurodegeneration. I am fascinated by the arsenal of defenses that human immune and non-immune cells have to combat microbial infections. Through the generous support of HHMI, I will investigate the possibility of chemically exploiting these defense pathways to develop novel antibiotics,” says De Leon.  

Rodolfo Urbano
Rodolfo Urbano

Urbano obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Washington, and joined John MacMicking’s lab at Yale as a postdoctoral associate. “The support of the fellowship will enable me to pursue my own scientific ideas and hopefully allow me to make significant contributions to address the burden that microorganisms place on the health of the global population,” says Urbano.

Each Hanna Gray Fellow receives $1.4 million in funding over the course of eight years. The program also provides mentoring and active involvements in the HHMI community. The two-phase program seeks to support researchers from their postdoctoral training through their first few years at a tenure-track faculty position.

The 2019 fellows are the third cohort of Hanna Gray Fellows at HHMI; a community of 30 fellows has been selected over the course of the past two years. The program aims to encourage talented scientist to become leaders in academic research, with a particular focus on gender, racial, ethnic, and other groups underrepresented in life sciences.

This program will help us retain the most diverse talent in science,” says HHMI President Erin O’Shea. “We feel it’s critically important in academia to have exceptional people from all walks of life, all cultures, and all backgrounds — people who can inspire the next generation of scientists.”

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Bara Badwan: bara.badwan@yale.edu,