HHMI has selected 12 new investigators who conduct patient-oriented research. These physician-scientists have made important contributions to understanding health problems such as cancer, AIDS and cardiovascular disease. President Thomas R. Cech says he hopes the group will "find new ways to translate basic science discoveries into useful therapies for patients."
They will join 324 HHMI investigators across the United States, the majority of whom focus on basic research directed toward understanding the genetic, molecular and cellular bases of human disease.
ROBERT B. DARNELL, M.D., PH.D.
THE ROCKEFELLER UNIVERSITY, NEW YORK CITY
Darnell studies degenerative brain disorders that are provoked by an autoimmune response to certain cancers.
BRAIN J. DRUKER, M.D.
OREGON HEALTH AND SCIENCE UNIVERSITY, PORTLAND
Druker's search for a molecule that would block the action of a tyrosine kinase that promotes formation of chronic myelogenous leukemia and gastrointestinal stromal tumors led to STI-571, commonly known as Gleevec. Druker played a key role in shepherding the drug through clinical trials in patients.
TODD R. GOLUB, M.D.
DANA-FARBER CANCER INSTITUTE, BOSTON
Golub and colleagues are developing diagnostic and prognostic tests for childhood leukemia, devising strategies for predicting responses to chemotherapy based on gene expression patterns and exploring novel treatment strategies based on analyses of a patient's genome.
KATHERINE A. HIGH, M.D.
THE CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL OF PHILADELPHIA
High studies the molecular basis of blood coagulation and has showed that gene therapy can achieve long-term improvement in dogs with hemophilia. Her team has begun clinical studies in patients with severe hemophilia B.
HELEN H. HOBBS, M.D.
UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS SOUTHWESTERN MEDICAL CENTER AT DALLAS
Hobbs and colleagues are studying how abnormalities in the processing of dietary lipids cause human diseases. She is also principal investigator for the Dallas Heart Disease Prevention Project, studying 3,000 randomly selected individuals and their behavioral, environmental, metabolic and genetic risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
BRENDAN H.L. LEE, M.D., PH.D.
BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE, HOUSTON
Linking studies on mammalian tissue and organ development with clinical research in patients with skeletal malformations, Lee hopes to understand the consequences of gene mutations on craniofacial/limb development. He and colleagues are also investigating gene-nutrient interactions in patients who have disorders in the urea cycle, which can lead to brain damage and death.
EMMANUAL J. MIGNOT, M.D., PH.D.
STANFORD UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE, PALO ALTO, CALIFORNIA
Mignot and colleagues are studying narcolepsy, a severe sleep disorder that causes the afflicted to fall into a deep sleep with little or no warning. He is investigating whether narcolepsy is exacerbated by an autoimmune response against specific cells in the brain.
CHARLES L. SAWYERS, M.D.
JONSSON COMPREHENSIVE CANCER CENTER, DAVID GEFFEN SCHOOL OF MEDICINE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES
Sawyers collaborated with Brian Druker to design and conduct the clinical trials of STI-571 for treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia and recently showed how resistance to STI-571 occurs. He is now working to identify the molecular changes that accompany a form of brain cancer called glioblastoma as well as prostate cancer.
ROBERT F. SILICIANO, M.D., PH.D.
THE JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE, BALTIMORE
Siliciano is searching for ways to prevent or treat HIV infection. He and colleagues have shown that HIV-1 can persist in a silent form, even in patients on effective antiretroviral therapy. They hope to understand how it manages to do so, and thereby design a means to eradicate the virus.
EDWIN M. STONE, M.D., PH.D.,
UNIVERSITY OF IOWA ROY J. AND LUCILLE A. CARVER COLLEGE OF MEDICINE, IOWA CITY
Stone's research interests are in inherited eye diseases. He collaborated with HHMI investigator
Val C. Sheffield at the University of Iowa to identify the chromosomal location of genes that cause 14 different eye diseases. Stone and colleagues have also created the first international center for molecular diagnosis of eye diseases.
BRUCE D. WALKER, M.D.
HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL, MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL HOSPITAL, CHARLESTOWN
Walker's group is studying patients in the earliest stages of HIV infection to determine how the immune system fights the virus during the initial encounter. They hope to learn how to boost immunity to viruses. Walker is also helping several institutions in South Africa expand their immunology programs and support training in virology.
CHRISTOPHER A. WALSH, M.D., PH.D.
HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL, BETH ISRAEL DEACONESS MEDICAL CENTER, BOSTON
Walsh's lab is interested in the causes of mental retardation and epilepsy in children. He collaborates with clinical geneticists and pediatric neurologists around the world to improve diagnosis of childhood brain disorders, and through a pioneering "Internet Clinic," he has described more than a dozen new neurological syndromes whose genetic bases are being investigated.
» For more details on the investigators' work,
Photo: Paul Fetters
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Reprinted from the HHMI Bulletin,
September 2002, pages 14-19.
©2002 Howard Hughes Medical Institute