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Awards / Honors

Biochemist named 2009 Pew Scholar in Biomedical Sciences

June 18, 2009

Jennifer G. DeLuca, assistant professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, is one of 17 recipients of the 2009 Pew Scholars Award in the Biomedical Sciences. As a Pew Scholar, DeLuca will receive a $240,000 award over four years to support her research and gains inclusion into a select community of scientists that encourages collaboration and the exchange of ideas.

Opportunity to pursue innovative projects

“I am very honored to be selected as a Pew Scholar and for my work to be recognized by the Pew Foundation,” says DeLuca. “It is wonderful that this organization values creative and concept-driven research, which gives young scientists the opportunity to pursue innovative projects that are not routinely funded through traditional grants. I am grateful to be part of the Pew Scholar community and excited to have the chance to interact with such an inspiring group of scientists.”

DeLuca received her doctorate in 2000 from the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology of the University of California, Santa Barbara. She moved to the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, to do her postdoctoral work in cell biology and microscopy. 

Correct chromosome segregation

In 2007, DeLuca joined the faculty of Colorado State University as an assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Her research at CSU centers on understanding how cells equally divide their chromosomes during mitosis. Correct chromosome segregation is critical to human health. Aneuploidy (where cells have too many or too few chromosomes) is a known cause of many birth defects including Down and Turner syndrome.

“Pew’s Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences recognizes and supports promising young scientists in advancing human health,” says Shelley A. Hearne, managing director of the Pew Health Group. “Unlike many traditional research grants with strict guidelines on how funds must be used, our program allows participants to try out new investigative directions as their research unfolds. Flexibility, we feel, is an important key to encouraging the scientific creativity that often leads to spectacular results.”

Outstanding promise as contributor in science relevant to human health

Now in its 25th year, the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences has invested more than $125 million to fund over 460 scholars. Many alumni have received prestigious awards, including the Nobel Prize, MacArthur Fellowships and the Albert Lasker Medical Research Award.

The selection process for the Pew Scholars is rigorously competitive. Applicants must be nominated by an invited institution and must demonstrate excellence and innovation in their research.

This year, 149 institutions were invited to nominate a candidate in basic biomedical research, and 111 eligible nominations were received.

Full news release

2009 Pew Scholars

The 2009 Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences are:

• Frank Alber, Ph.D. (University of Southern California)
• Diana M. Bautista, Ph.D. (University of California, Berkeley)
• Jon P. Boyle, Ph.D. (University of Pittsburgh)
• Zev D. Bryant, Ph.D. (Stanford University)
Jennifer G. DeLuca, Ph.D. (Colorado State University)
• Qing R. Fan, Ph.D. (Columbia University)
• Kevin A. Janes, Ph.D. (University of Virginia)
• John K. Kim, Ph.D. (University of Michigan)
• Alexander Meissner, Ph.D. (Harvard University)
• Charles G. Mullighan, M.D. (St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital)
• Patrick J. Paddison, Ph.D. (Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center)
• Joseph R. Pomerening, Ph.D. (Indiana University)
• Nicholas J. Priebe, Ph.D. (University of Texas at Austin)
• Melissa M. Rolls, Ph.D. (The Pennsylvania State University)
• Joshua W. Shaevitz, Ph.D. (Princeton University)
• Ben Z. Stanger, M.D., Ph.D. (University of Pennsylvania)
• R. Grace Zhai, Ph.D. (University of Miami)

Full biographies and information regarding the scholars' research.

Contact: P. Shng Ho, Professor and Chair of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Phone: (970) 491-0569