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Five young Yale scientists recognized for excellence

September 22, 2016

Five Yale faculty members are among the 84 young researchers designated as Faculty Scholars under a new program to promote early career scientists, launched by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Simons Foundation, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The faculty scholars represent 43 institutions. Each will receive a five-year grant totaling between $600,000 and $1.8 million, and all are required to devote at least 50% of their time to research.

"Support for outstanding early-career scientists is essential for continued progress in science in future years,” said Marian Carlson, director of life sciences at the Simons Foundation.

The Yale recipients and descriptions of their research follow:

Antonio Giraldez

Professor of genetics

Giraldez is interested in how fertilized eggs develop into complex multicellular embryos. Using zebrafish as a model system, he is looking at the mechanisms that activate the genome after fertilization and how this universal transition drives post-transcriptional regulation of the maternal instructions.

Andrew Goodman

Associate professor of microbial pathogenesis at Yale’s Microbial Sciences Institute

Goodman’s research is focused on dissecting the mechanisms that human commensal microbes use to cooperate, compete, and antagonize each other in the gut. His team works to understand how the communities that develop from these interactions influence our responses to pathogens and medical drugs.

Valentina Greco

Associate professor of genetics with tenure

Greco is investigating how stem cells initiate and coordinate tissue regeneration, both to maintain healthy tissues and to restore damaged tissue after injury. She is also investigating how regenerating tissues respond to the presence of cells with cancer-promoting mutations, seeking a better understanding of the earliest events in tumor development.

Daniel Colón-Ramos

Associate professor of cell biology and neuroscience

A fundamental problem in neuroscience involves understanding how synapses are assembled in living animals to produce behaviors and store memories. Colón-Ramos uses the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans to explore this question, examining the biological mechanisms cells use to create synapses during development, maintain them during growth, and modify them during learning.

Carla Rothlin

Associate professor of immunobiology

Inflammation plays a critical role in the immune response. Left unchecked, however, it can cause chronic inflammation, trigger autoimmune disorders, or fuel cancer. Rothlin studies the biochemical mechanisms that control immune response activation and intensity, with an eye toward inflammation. A better understanding of immune system regulation could lead to new treatments for inflammation-associated diseases.

Submitted by Lindsay Borthwick on September 22, 2016