Bluma (Bibi) Lesch, MD, PhD, assistant professor of genetics, has been named a 2019 Searle Scholar, an honor awarded to support the independent research of exceptional young faculty in the biomedical sciences and chemistry who have recently been appointed as assistant professors on a tenure-track appointment. Lesch's is investigating evolution and molecular control of gene regulation in the animal germ line, and the Searle program will dedicate $300,000 in flexible funding to support Lesch's work over the next three years.
"I am incredibly honored to receive this award," says Lesch, "and I'll do my best to live up to the amazing precedent set by past recipients."
Lesch, who joined the faculty in 2017, earned her PhD from the Rockefeller University in 2010 and her MD from Weill Cornell Medical College in 2011. She is a 2003 graduate of Yale College. She investigates the genetics and epigenetics of reproduction and development, with a special interest in the evolution of epigenetic and chromatin states in mammals. She works toward integrating information across a wide range of biological scales, from the regulation of molecules, to the development of individuals, to the evolution of species—to add to understanding of the evolution of gene regulation.
Each year, the Searle Scholars Program selects 15 promising young scientists from institutions across the country. "Can anything be more gratifying than helping to kick-start the research programs of such meritorious women and men?" says Doug Fambrough, scientific director for the program, which was founded in 1980. It is funded through the Searle Funds at the Chicago Community Trust established by the estates of Mr. and Mrs. John G. Searle. John G. Searle was the grandson of the founder of the worldwide pharmaceutical company, G.D. Searle & Company.