HHMI Announces Vilcek Prizewinners among 2021 Investigators
The Vilcek Foundation is honored to announce that Sun Hur, Martin Jonikas, and Mikhail G. Shapiro have been named among the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) 2021 cohort of Investigators.
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)
A philanthropic organization focused on supporting rigorous investigations and innovative approaches, HHMI scientists tackle some of the most challenging problems in biomedical research. HHMI reports that each new Investigator will receive roughly $9 million over a seven-year term in support of research projects in their field.
“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. O’Shea notes that by employing scientists as HHMI Investigators – rather than awarding them research grants – HHMI is guided by the principle of “people, not projects.”
“The Vilcek Foundation congratulates Sun Hur, Martin Jonikas, and Mikhail G. Shapiro on being named among HHMI’s latest cohort,” says Jan Vilcek, chairman and CEO of the Vilcek Foundation. “Hur, Jonikas, and Shapiro’s research positions each of them at the cutting edge in their respective fields. I have no doubt that they will each go on to accomplish incredible things as Investigators with HHMI.”
The Vilcek Creative Promise Prizewinners
Hur, Jonikas, and Shapiro are all recipients of Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise in Biomedical Science. The Creative Promise Prizes recognize immigrant scientists whose early career work represents a significant achievement or contribution to their field.
An immunologist, Hur received a 2015 Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Biomedical Science for interdisciplinary studies on the molecular mechanisms of enzyme reactions and the innate immune system.
A neuroscientist and molecular and cellular engineer, Shapiro received the honor in 2019 for developing tools based on sound waves and magnetic fields to achieve high-resolution, noninvasive imaging of cells in living organisms.
In 2020, systems biologist Jonikas was awarded the honor for his molecular studies on Chlamydomonas, a model photosynthetic organism, and potential synthetic biology applications based on his research to improve food-crop yield and to combat climate change.