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Two HST alumni win NIH Director’s Early Independence Award

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Isha H. Jain, MEMP PhD ’17, and Kristin Knouse, HST MD ’18

Isha H. Jain, MEMP PhD ’17, and Kristin Knouse, HST MD ’18 and MIT Biology PhD '17, are two of twelve recipients of the 2018 National Institutes of Health Director’s Early Independence Award. The award supports junior scientists who possess “the intellect, scientific creativity, drive, and maturity to flourish independently.”

With a purse of $250,000 per year for up to five years, the award allows individual early-career researchers to forgo a traditional postdoctoral training route so that they may launch independent research careers upon completion of a doctoral degree or clinical training.

Jain, a Faculty Fellow at the University of California-San Francisco who worked in the labs of Vamsi Mootha and Warren Zapol during her time at HST, will focus on the varied effects of oxygen deprivation in select tissues throughout the body, in order to develop novel treatments for conditions such as heart disease and stroke.

Knouse, a current Whitehead Fellow at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, will study the reversibility of cell cycle states using the mouse liver as a tractable system. Her experiments will attempt to uncover the distinction between quiescence and terminal differentiation in cells so that key features may be introduced as part of therapies for numerous diseases, including stroke, neurodegeneration, heart attack, and hearing loss.

To learn more about the NIH Director’s Early Career Award, click here.