April 05, 2005
HHMI Seeks Outstanding Latin American, Canadian Researchers
Talented Latin American and Canadian scientists can find themselves
handicapped by a lack of research support and infrastructure in their
home countries. Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) will help even
the playing field by supporting some of North and South America's most
gifted biomedical researchers.
HHMI is inviting scientists who have full-time appointments at
nonprofit scientific research institutions in Canada, Mexico, and six
South American countries to apply to become HHMI international research
scholars. Eligible South American countries include Argentina, Brazil,
Chile, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
“The quality of their research is the key criterion.”
Peter J. Bruns
The application deadline is September 14, 2005. Grants will be
awarded in October 2006. Each five-year grant provides a total of
$250,000 to $500,000.
“These grants are designed to support the research of talented
scientists in their home countries,” said Peter Bruns, HHMI vice
president of grants and special programs. “The quality of their
research is the key criterion.”
The awards are for fundamental biomedical research on basic
biological processes and disease mechanisms. Clinical trials, health
education, and delivery of health care services are not eligible for
HHMI recognizes the need to support not only individual scientists,
but also the scientific environment in which they work, so part of each
grant supports shared resources at the researcher's institution.
“Our goal is enriching the general scientific environment in the
scholar's department,” Bruns explained.
This is the fourth round of HHMI grants to scientists in Latin
America, Mexico, and Canada. More than $40 million has been awarded
previously to 114 scientists in the western hemisphere outside the
United States. Many of these HHMI international research scholars have
made notable achievements. For example, Marcelo Rubinstein of Argentina
founded one of the premier mouse transgenics facilities in South
America and is collaborating with Pedro Labarca to establish a similar
facility in Chile. Peter St George-Hyslop of the University of Toronto
discovered genes involved in Alzheimer's disease, and Argentine Mariano
Levin helped sequence the Trypanosoma cruzi genome.
T.cruzi is the parasite that spreads Chagas disease, which
cripples or kills tens of thousands of people annually in Central and
South America and Mexico..
Since HHMI established its international grants program in 1991,
scientists in 32 countries around the world have received awards
totaling more than $100 million. In addition to Latin American and
Canadian researchers, the Institute supports scientists in Eastern and
Central Europe, Russia, and the Baltics, as well as parasitology and
infectious disease researchers worldwide.