Thirty-three US scientists are joining the ranks of Howard Hughes Medical Institute researchers, the institute announced today (September 23). The awardees, who come from 21 institutions across the US, will each receive $9 million over a renewable seven-year employment period to fund their salaries, benefits, and laboratory budgets. 

“HHMI is committed to giving outstanding biomedical scientists the time, resources, and freedom they need to explore uncharted scientific territory,” says HHMI President Erin O’Shea in a statement. She adds that the institute prefers to invest in “people, not projects,” by employing scientists rather than awarding research grants.

The new cohort of HHMI investigators

The list of the new HHMI researchers includes: 

  • Emily Balskus, Harvard University, who studies chemical reactions in the gut microbiome
  • Gregory Barton, University of California, Berkeley, who studies how the immune system reacts to pathogens 
  • Diana Bautista, University of California, Berkley, who studies COVID-19 in relation to lung inflammation and breathing problems 
  • Trevor Bedford, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, a computational biologist who developed a global surveillance platform for disease 
  • Flaminia Catteruccia, Harvard University, who studies mosquito reproduction and parasite biology 
  • Xin Chen, Johns Hopkins University, an epigeneticist who first observed asymmetric epigenetic inheritance in living organisms
  • Rhiju Das, Stanford University, a biochemist studying the 3-D structure of RNA 
  • Kafui Dzirasa, Duke University, a psychiatrist who studies brain electrical activity 
  • Nels Elde, University of Utah, an evolutionary geneticist studies host cell adaptations to infections by microbes 
  • Cagla Eroglu, Duke University, a neuroscientist who study how astrocytes influence networks in the brain
  • Cassandra Extavour, Harvard University, who studies the origins and evolution of germ cells 
  • Chenghua Gu, Harvard University, who studies the blood-brain barrier 
  • Sun Hur, Boston Children’s Hospital, who discovered a key molecular pathway in host cells’ virus detection process
  • Martin Jonikas, Princeton University, a molecular biologist working on engineering algal proteins into plants to make photosynthesis more efficient 
  • Cigall Kadoch, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, who studies a protein complex that affects mammalian genome structure and gene expression 
  • Shingo Kajimura, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, who studies fat cells’ role in metabolism and metabolic health 
  • Daniel Kronauer, Rockefeller University, who studies the genetic and neural mechanisms of ant behavior 
  • Frederick Matsen IV, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, a mathematician who is developing computational algorithms to analyze large sets of genetic data 
  • Ian Maze, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, who studies how serotonin and dopamine affect gene regulation and brain function 
  • John McCutcheon, Arizona State University, who studies a relationship between insects and bacteria 
  • Michelle Monje, Stanford University, a neurobiologist and pediatric oncologist who studies a type of brain cancer called glioma  
  • Daniel Mucida, Rockefeller University, who studies the interplay between microbes, neurons, and immune cells 
  • Dana Pe’er, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, a computational biologist who studies how cell fate is determined 
  • Kristy Red-Horse, Stanford University, who studies collateral arteries, which carry blood around blockages 
  • Vanessa Ruta, Rockefeller University, a neuroscientist who studies the brains of fruit flies 
  • David Savage, University of California, Berkeley, who works on genome editing in agriculture 
  • Mikhail Shapiro, California Institute of Technology, a biochemical engineer who uses ultrasound and other technologies to image and control neurons in animals 
  • Vincent Tagliabracci, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, who studies protein kinases and cellular signaling
  • Benjamin Tu, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, who studies metabolic pathways and cell growth 
  • Kay Tye, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, who studies how the brain responds to social loneliness and isolation 
  • David Veesler, University of Washington, whose work predicts which bat viruses might spill over into people 
  • Elizabeth Villa, University of California, San Diego, a biophysicist who develops techniques to visualize cellular components 
  • Jochen Zimmer, University of Virginia, who studies how polysaccharides are made and integrated into cells