Grants of $1.5 million will support ten investigators — including one team of two scientists — from research organizations in the United States, Canada, and Portugal working in the areas of lymphoma, neuroscience, the immune system, aging and development, and basic biology. Established in 2016 in part to build on the Allen Distinguished Investigators program, the Frontiers Group funds early-stage research projects less likely to receive support from traditional funding sources but which have the potential to significantly advance our understanding of biology.
Award recipients include Chenghua Gu (Harvard Medical School), who will study the brain's elaborate blood vessel system and how it influences human health and brain disease; Baljit S. Khakh (University of California, Los Angeles), who will tackle the first systematic characterization of astrocyte cells, study how they influence neuron activity, and explore how astrocyte function is altered in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease; Marc Kirschner (Harvard Medical School), who plans to use systems biology and machine learning approaches to uncover the cellular circuitry that drive development and aging and to better understand where they might overlap; and Clodagh O'Shea (Salk Institute for Biological Studies), who has developed new technologies that reveal how the six feet of human genomic DNA is compacted into the microscopic cell nucleus.
"With this new class of Allen Distinguished Investigators, we are honored to uphold Paul's vision for accelerating scientific discovery. He was keenly interested in the work of these ten exemplary researchers and their potential to push the boundaries of knowledge," said Allen Frontiers Group director Kathy Richmond. "Our new investigators all think outside the box to tackle big challenges and find new insights about disease and health. Each of them is poised to 'move the needle' and drive their fields forward."
For a list of the latest cohort of Allen Distinguished Investigators and their projects, see the Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group website.