HomeNewsThe 2008 HHMI Collaborative Innovation Awards: Team Leaders

HHMI News

The 2008 HHMI Collaborative Innovation Awards: Team Leaders

Summary

HHMI announces the names of scientists selected to pilot a new program devoted to supporting transformative, collaborative research.

Catherine Dulac, Ph.D.

Catherine Dulac, Ph.D.
HHMI Investigator
Harvard University

How Does Gene Imprinting Shape Behavior and Brain Development?
In mammals, cells carry out their work driven by two copies of nearly every gene, one inherited from each parent. If something happens to one gene, the other is usually there to compensate. But for a small number of genes, the two copies rule does not apply. For those genes, only one parent’s copy is turned on,and the other is shut off. This regulatory process leaves little room for error because there is no gene to act as a backup if problems arise.

Simon John, Ph.D.

Simon John, Ph.D.
HHMI Investigator
Jackson Laboratory

Developing a Tiny, Wireless Sensor to Monitor Glaucoma Around the Clock
Nearly 70 million people worldwide have glaucoma, an insidious group of diseases that damages the optic nerve and leads to vision loss and blindness. High intraocular pressure, which damages nerve cells in the eye, is one of the biggest known contributing factors in the development of glaucoma. 

Susan Lindquist, Ph.D.

Susan Lindquist, Ph.D.
HHMI Investigator
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

Discovering New Strategies to Treat Neurodegenerative Diseases
Susan Lindquist believes that if “personalized medicine” for complex neurodegenerative disorders is to become a reality then scientists must begin developing more rigorous approaches to identifying and validating promising new therapies. 

Douglas C. Rees, Ph.D.

Douglas C. Rees, Ph.D.

HHMI Investigator
California Institute of Technology

Building a Better Foundation for Structural Studies of Membrane Proteins
Images in biology textbooks may give the misleading impression that the cell membrane is a passive envelope that does little more than keep the cell’s internal contents in place. Howard Hughes Medical Institute researcher Douglas C. Rees prefers to think of the outer membrane of human cells as a dynamic boundary that sends and receives vital information about the state of affairs inside and outside the cell. 

Danny Reinberg, Ph.D. Danny Reinberg, Ph.D.
HHMI Investigator
New York University School of Medicine

What Can Ants Teach Us About Aging and Behavior?
Ants first marched into Danny Reinberg’s world about four years ago as he began thinking about taking his lab in a new direction. Now, he cannot keep ants off his mind because they are the focal point of a newly funded HHMI Collaborative Innovation Award to study whether epigenetics influences the behavior and aging of ants. 
Peter Walter, Ph.D.

Peter Walter, Ph.D.
HHMI Investigator
University of California, San Francisco

The Unfolded Protein Response: A Good Target for Drug Design?
Like Lucy Ricardo and Ethel Mertz scrambling to wrap the chocolates that roll relentlessly down the candy factory’s conveyor belt, a cell’s protein-folding team can only do so much with limited resources. And an unfolded protein that slips by unfolded can spark far more trouble for an organism than a stern factory supervisor. 

Xiaowei Zhuang, Ph.D.

Xiaowei Zhuang, Ph.D.
HHMI Investigator
Harvard University

A Better Wiring Guide to the Mammalian Brain
Neuroscientists working to understand how cells in the brain communicate with one another dream about one day having a precise map charting exactly how each cell connects to the next. Such a map would be a powerful tool for learning how the brain processes information and controls behavior, as well as recognizing how neuronal communication breaks down during disease.

Huda Y. Zoghbi, M.D. Huda Y. Zoghbi, M.D.
HHMI Investigator
Baylor College of Medicine

Speed Scanning the Genome for Neurodegenerative Disease Therapies
In neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer and Parkinson, misfolded proteins form toxic traffic jams that stop neurons from functioning normally. As the neurons malfunction and eventually die, people experience symptoms ranging from memory loss to lack of motor coordination.