Four scientists from the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA have received a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director’s New Innovator Award for advancing revolutionary stem cell and neuroscience in medicine. The four UCLA researchers were among only 50 recipients nationwide and the most from a single institution represented.
Each recipient received a $2.3 million award for their respective projects.
The UCLA recipients are: Dr. Reza Ardehali, assistant professor of cardiology, for his research investigating novel ways to use stem cells to regenerate heart tissue; Elissa Hallem, assistant professor of microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics, for her work studying interactions between animal parasites and their hosts to foster the further understanding of human parasitic diseases; Sririam Kosuri, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, for his project developing new biological system technologies to solve outstanding problems in gene regulation; and Lili Yang, assistant professor of microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics, for her work developing a new method to track special immune cells for use in new cellular therapies.
“These New Innovator Award grants are an important acknowledgement of our cutting-edge research and will help our faculty drive the revolutionary advances we are seeing in stem cell and neuro-science,” said Dr. Owen Witte, professor and director of the Broad Stem Cell Research Center. “Every cellular therapy that reaches patients must begin in the laboratory with novel ideas and experiments that will lead us in new directions in medicine and ultimately improve human life. That makes these awards invaluable to our research effort.”
The NIH Director’s New Innovator Award is designed specifically to support unusually creative investigators with highly innovative research ideas at an early stage of their career. The award seeks to support exceptionally creative new scientists whose research complements ongoing efforts by NIH.