Burroughs Wellcome Fund Recognizes Ten Scientists Combining Biology with the Physical Sciences and Engineering Towards Medical Breakthroughs

Interdisciplinary postdocs ‘bridging science fiction with reality’ will share $5M in career grants.

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — Holographic mapping of neurons. Forward engineering of cell functions. Light-manipulated dynamic hydrogels. Neural circuits for prediction and learning. These may sound like technological ventures from fictional engineers like Tony Stark and Bruce Banner, but they are among a list of actual research projects recently awarded by Burroughs Wellcome Fund — the private, independent foundation making personal investments in biomedical research and careers for more than 60 years.

The 2016 recipients of the BWF Career Awards at the Scientific Interface (CASI) are ten postdoctoral researchers working at the intersection of biological and physical sciences, from University of Colorado,Boulder, University of Colorado-Boulder, Berkeley, Princeton, Memorial Sloan Kettering, MIT, Duke, Columbia, and Caltech.

“These cross-trained scientists will play a vital role in advancing human health, because their dual understanding of biological and physical sciences or engineering enables them to visualize new tools, lenses, and machinery previously unimaginable,” says BWF President John E. Burris, Ph.D. “Of all our research investment programs at the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, this award comes closest towards bridging science fiction with reality — and we can’t wait to see all the ideas and breakthroughs these researchers will contribute to the biomedical world as their careers unfold.”

The CASI program identifies early-career researchers skilled in engineering, chemistry, physical, mathematical, and computational fields, providing $500,000 over five years — as well as job placement mentoring and professional networking resources — to help them transition from postdoctoral training into faculty research careers. CASI awardees have investigated topics spanning robotic prosthetic limb programming, DNA computing, biomagnetic manipulation of stem cells, and the chemistry of human circadian rhythms. Learn more about CASI at www.bwfund.org/casi.

The 2016 CASI Awardees and their Research Focus
Listed by alphabetical order of awardee name.

Ahmet F Coskun, Ph.D. | California Institute of Technology
Computational single molecule imaging and barcoding: Exploring cellular identity at the single cell transcript level

Alexander G Huth, Ph.D. | University of California, Berkeley
Comprehensive functional mapping of human cortex using generative models

Ashley M Laughney Bakhoum, Ph.D. | Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Uncovering transcriptional vulnerabilities in latent metastasis

Michael John Mitchell, Ph.D. | Massachusetts Institute of Technology
High-throughput in vivo nucleic acid delivery screening via molecular barcoding of nanoparticles for bone marrow-related diseases

Arthur Prindle, Ph.D. | University of California, San Diego
Electrical signaling and multicellular organization

Adrianne Marie Rosales, Ph.D. | University of Colorado Boulder
Dynamic viscoelastic hydrogels to study mechanisms of fibrosis

David Michael Schneider, Ph.D. | Duke University
Neural circuits for making predictions and learning from mistakes

Amy Wesolowski, Ph.D. | Princeton University
Impact of human travel on infectious disease dynamics

Jing Yan, Ph.D. | Princeton University
Resolving and analyzing living bacterial biofilms at the single cell level

Weijian Yang, Ph.D. | Columbia University
Holographic mapping and manipulation of neuronal microcircuits

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The Burroughs Wellcome Fund is a private, independent foundation located in Research Triangle Park, NC. BWF is dedicated to advancing the biomedical sciences by supporting research and other educational endeavors. Follow on Twitter at @bwfund.

Media Contact: Russ Campbell at 919/667-8866 or news[at] bwfund.org