Three early-career scientists recognized as ‘innovators’

YSM’s Luisa Escobar-Hoyos and Berna Sozen, and YSPH’s Nathan Grubaugh are among the 72 recipients of the National Institutes of Health’s New Innovator Award.
Luisa Escobar-Hoyos, Nathan Grubaugh, and Berna Sozen

Luisa Escobar-Hoyos, Nathan Grubaugh, and Berna Sozen

Three Yale researchers have received the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) New Innovator Award, a prestigious award that recognizes “unusually innovative” work by early career scientists.

The three recipients, Luisa Escobar-Hoyos and Berna Sozen from Yale School of Medicine, and Nathan Grubaugh from Yale School of Public Health, are among 72 to receive the award.

The New Innovator Award is part of the NIH Director’s High-Risk, High-Reward Research program, supported by the Common Fund. Awards are for researchers who are within 10 years of their final degree or clinical residency and have not yet received an NIH R01 or equivalent grant.

Overall, the NIH awarded 103 new research grants in support of highly innovative scientists at different stages of their careers who have proposed visionary and broadly impactful meritorious behavioral and biomedical research projects.

Luisa Escobar-Hoyos is an assistant professor in the Departments of Therapeutic Radiology and Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry. Her research objective is to design and test novel biomarker-based and targeted therapies for pancreatic cancer, a common deadly cancer that is refractory to standard treatments and recent experimental interventions.

Nathan Grubaugh is an associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases at the Yale School of Public Health. As a postdoc, he investigated the Zika pandemic, and his lab at Yale now uses genomic epidemiology to study virus emergence, transmission, and evolution. His NIH award will help him construct a global dengue virus genomic surveillance system and use virus genomics to investigate the epidemiological drivers of dengue outbreaks.

Berna Sozen is an assistant professor in Yale’s Departments of Genetics and Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences. As a Ph.D. candidate and postdoctoral researcher, she helped develop models of early embryogenesis in mammals. At Yale, she will investigate the structure of the embryo and cellular functions involved in embryonic development, with the long-term aim to understand the origins of human development.

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Bess Connolly : elizabeth.connolly@yale.edu,