BWF Announces 2013 CASI Recipients

Interdisciplinary Scientists Receive $500,000 Grant

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC - The Burroughs Wellcome Fund Board of Directors approved the recipients of the 2013 Career Awards at the Scientific Interface at its May meeting. The award provides $500,000 over five years to support researchers in the quantitative sciences to pursue biological questions as they complete their postdoctoral training and transition to a faculty position.

Scientific advances such as genomics, quantitative structural biology, imaging techniques, and modeling of complex systems have created opportunities for exciting research careers at the interface between the physical/computational sciences and the biological sciences. Tackling key problems in biology require scientists trained in areas such as chemistry, physics, applied mathematics, computer science, and engineering.

Recognizing the vital role cross-trained scientists play in furthering biomedical science, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund developed the Career Awards at the Scientific Interface. These grants foster the early career development of researchers who have transitioned or are transitioning from undergraduate and/or graduate work in the physical/mathematical/computational sciences or engineering into postdoctoral work in the biological sciences, and who are dedicated to pursuing a career in academic research.

“While supporting biomedical research, it has become clear to us that biologists need to interact with physical scientists, mathematicians, and engineers to combine the latest techniques with the insights of those outside biology to answer the most difficult problems of our time,” said BWF President John Burris. “The CASI program provides an opportunity for postdoctoral fellows from the world of the physical and mathematical sciences to bring their insights to bear on perplexing biological problems.”

Since the program began in 2001, a total of 99 awards have been made for an investment of nearly $50 million.

The 2013 recipients of the Career Award at the Scientific Interface are:

Gregory R. Bowman, Ph.D. 
University of California-Berkeley
Decrypting cryptic allosteric sites resulting from protein flexibility

Yaniv Erlich, Ph.D. 
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research
Dissecting complex phenotypes using web 2.0 social networks

Stephanie I. Fraley, Ph.D.
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Digitizing microRNA: integrated profiling and discovery for rapid, quantitative, and broad-scale detection in infectious disease

Hernan G. Garcia, Ph.D.
Princeton University
Wiring up the synthetic fly

Karen E. Kasza, Ph.D. 
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Mechanical cues coordinating cell behaviors during morphogenesis

Gabriel Kwong, Ph.D. 
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Nanoparticles that amplify biomarkers in vivo for ultrasensitive metastasis monitoring

Megan N. McClean, Ph.D. 
Princeton University
Optogenetic and microfluidic tools for generating dynamic inputs to interrogate and control biological networks

Mikhail G. Shapiro, Ph.D. 
University of California-Berkeley
Genetically encoded reporters for sensitive non-invasive imaging of biological function

Paul A. Sigala, Ph.D.
Washington University
Mechanistic probes of heme metabolism in malaria parasites

Bo Wang, Ph.D. 
University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign
In vivo imaging and functional genomic analysis of stem cells in human parasitic worm schistosoma