Keriann Backus, assistant professor of biological chemistry in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, was named 2019 Beckman Young Investigator by the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation.

The Beckman Young Investigator program provides research support to faculty members in the early stages of their academic careers in the chemical and life sciences, particularly to foster the invention of methods, instruments and materials that will improve research in science. Backus will use the funding to develop new approaches to identify functional, disease-linked and accessible pockets in human proteins.

Backus’ research aims to develop chemical tools that can manipulate the human immune system. She is the recipient of the Scripps Research Institute’s travel award and the National Institutes of Health Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award.