The annual program recognizes young biomedical science researchers whose work has the potential to advance human health. This year, ten scholars were awarded grants of up to $110,000 per year for a maximum of five years to conduct research on critical topics in cancer, immunology, and neuroscience, including how novel genes originate and evolve, how the brain controls perceptions of pain, and how maternal interactions influence neonatal health. This year's cohort includes five scholars whose work is related to the biology of pain, three of which were supported by the Open Philanthropy Project.
The 2019 Rita Allen Scholars are Matthew Banghart (University of California, San Diego), Michael Burton (University of Texas at Dallas), E. Josie Clowney (University of Michigan), Meaghan Creed (Washington University in St. Louis), Peter Grace (University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center), Meghan Koch (Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center), Jordan McCall (Washington University in St. Louis), Lauren O'Connell (Stanford University), Vivianne Tawfik (Stanford University), and Li Zhao (Rockefeller University).
"We welcome this remarkable group of scientists — their bold approaches to research will extend the frontiers of biomedical science in at times unexpected, transformative directions," said Rita Allen Foundation president and CEO Elizabeth Good Christopherson. "We are particularly excited that new support from the Open Philanthropy Project will fuel new research on the mechanisms of pain, opening the door for pioneering research in an area of great promise and great need."