Science Market Update

5 Rockefeller Life Science Research Lab Heads Win NIH High-Risk Awards

Posted by Jaimee Saliba on Tue, Sep 18, 2012

"High-risk, high-reward" life science research funding isn't something we hear about very often in these days of fiscal belt-tightening, especially coming from the private sector. Fortunately the NIH is still committed to supporting exceptional life science labs that take the road less travelled, with the Director's Transformative Research Awards and the Director's New Innovator Awards, because the potential payoff justifies the gamble taken. The NIH has standard criteria by which they evaluate grant proposals. Realizing that those criteria would enevitably leave out some of the most daring and ground-breaking research, they came up with the High Risk awards. 2012 Director's Awards from the NIH Common Fund (totalling some $155M) have gone to 81 investigators, and 5 of them are faculty members and heads of laboratories at Rockefeller University.

molecular biology researchThe two Rockefeller winners of the Transformative Research Awards and their labs are:

These Transformative Reseach grants are, according to the NIH, created specifically to support exceptionally innovative and/or unconventional research projects that have the potential to create or overturn fundamental paradigms (what we might also call "disruptive" technologies). Both Darnell and Tuschl study the role of RNA, and both are Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigators.

The three Rock recipients of the New Innovator Awards and their labs are:

rock scientistDaniel Kronauer, Ph.D. (left), head of the Laboratory of Insect Social Evolution

(Joined the Rockefeller faculty in 2011 as an assistant professor)



rock research scientistGaby Maimon, Ph.D. (left), head of the Laboratory of Integrative Brain Function

(Joined the Rockefeller faculty in 2011 as an assistant professor)



rock life science researchLuciano Marraffini, Ph.D. (left), head of the Laboratory of Bacteriology

(Joined the Rockefeller faculty in 2010 as an assistant professor)



The New Innovator grants are designed specifically to support unusually creative new investigators with highly innovative research ideas at an early stage of their career when they may lack the preliminary data required for an R01 grant. 

new innovator research award

2012 NIH research funding for Rockefeller University was $57,430,443, going to 109 investigators and their teams. That figure does not include the Director's grants mentioned above. These will be the first NIH grants awarded to the three new innovators; both Drs. Darnell and Tuschl have previous NIH funding.

The Top 6 Rockefeller investigators in 2012 NIH funding each received over $2.5M for various projects:

  • Barry S. Coller, Laboratory of Blood and Vascular Biology (4 grants) -- $8,275,940
  • Michael P. Rout, Laboratory of Cellular and Structural Biology (4 grants) -- $4,864,368
  • Charles M. Rice, Laboratory of Virology and Infectious Disease (7 grants) -- $3,957,485
  • Paul Greengard, Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience (2 grants) -- $3,453,381
  • Michel C. Nussenzweig, Laboratory of Molecular Immunology (4 grants) -- $2,844,761
  • Jean-Laurent Casanova, St. Giles Laboratory of Human Genetics of Infectious Diseases (5 grants) -- $2,691,125




Biotechnology Calendar, Inc. welcomes New York City laboratory research scientists on the Upper East Side to its twice-annual BioResearch Product Faire event at the Rockefeller University Campus. This event, as well as the three others we hold in New York over a four day period in the fall, bring together life scientists with laboratory equipment and supply professionals to discuss the latest developments in lab technology. Make sure these exceptional tradeshows are on your calendar:

rockefeller research
Be sure to look at our newly-released 2013 Show Schedule as well.

Tags: Rockefeller University, Northeast, RNA research, New York, 2012, biology research, BioResearch Product Faire Event, Funding, NY, NIH, New York City, new research grants, Rockefeller, early career funding

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