Public Release: 

HHMI awards Hanna Gray Fellowships to 15 early career scientists

Howard Hughes Medical Institute

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) today announced the selection of 15 outstanding early career scientists as HHMI Hanna Gray Fellows. These recent PhD and MD/PhD recipients will continue their training as postdoctoral fellows at 12 institutions in the U.S. They have various research interests, including developing cutting-edge microscopy techniques, engineering new biomaterials, studying parasites and host behavior, and decoding the nerve circuitry underlying the sense of touch.

Each fellow will receive up to $1.4 million in funding over eight years, with mentoring and active involvement in the HHMI community. In this two-phase program, fellows will be supported from early postdoctoral training through several years of a tenure-track faculty position. This year's fellows join 15 Hanna Gray Fellows selected in 2017, the program's first year.

HHMI's Hanna H. Gray Fellows Program seeks to encourage talented early career scientists who have the potential to become leaders in academic research. In particular, this program aims to recruit and retain emerging scientists who are from gender, racial, ethnic, and other groups underrepresented in the life sciences, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

"This program will help us retain the most diverse talent in science," says HHMI President Erin O'Shea. "We feel it's critically important in academia to have exceptional people from all walks of life, all cultures, and all backgrounds - people who can inspire the next generation of scientists."

The Hanna H. Gray Fellows Program represents HHMI's strong commitment to investing in early career scientists who are poised to make significant and important contributions to science in the years to come. This program will support these scientists at critical transitions in their academic careers. In keeping with HHMI's long-standing approach to support "people, not projects," fellows will have the flexibility to change their research focus and follow their curiosity for the duration of the award.

A competition for the next group of Hanna Gray Fellows opens immediately. With continued commitment to support and promote diversity in the life sciences, the Institute will again select up to 15 fellows, investing up to $25 million total for their support over eight years. This grant competition is open to all eligible applicants, and no nomination is required. Grants in support of fellows will be awarded only to institutions within the U.S. (including Puerto Rico).

The program is named for Hanna Holborn Gray, former chair of the HHMI trustees and former president of the University of Chicago. Under Gray's leadership, HHMI developed initiatives that foster diversity in science education. HHMI continues to carry forward this work on college and university campuses across the U.S.


Applicants may obtain more information and eligibility requirements at The deadline for applications is January 9, 2019, at 3:00 p.m. (ET). The selection of fellows will be made by the end of June 2019, and grants can start as early as September 17, 2019, but no later than January 21, 2020.

HHMI plays an important role in advancing scientific research and education in the U.S. Its scientists, located across the country and around the world, have made important discoveries that advance both human health and our fundamental understanding of biology. The Institute also aims to transform science education into a creative, interdisciplinary endeavor that reflects the excitement of real research. HHMI's headquarters are located in Chevy Chase, Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C.

2018 Hanna Gray Fellows

Jose L. Alejo, PhD
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
Mentor: Kate Adamala, PhD

Sara Campbell, PhD
University of California, Berkeley
Mentors: Holger Müller, PhD and Eva Nogales, PhD

Yiyin Erin Chen, MD, PhD
Stanford University
Mentor: Michael A. Fischbach, PhD

Carolyn Elya, PhD
Harvard University
Mentor: Benjamin de Bivort, PhD

D'Juan Farmer, PhD
University of Southern California
Mentor: Gage Crump, PhD

Melanie McReynolds, PhD
Princeton University
Mentor: Joshua Rabinowitz, MD, PhD

Shan Meltzer, PhD
Harvard Medical School
Mentor: David Ginty, PhD

Adriane Otopalik, PhD
Columbia University
Mentor: Oliver Hobert, PhD

Michelle Richter, PhD
Harvard University
Mentor: David Liu, PhD

Thiago Monteiro Araújo dos Santos, PhD
Harvard University
Mentor: Daniel Kahne, PhD

Jarrett Smith, PhD
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research
Mentor: David Bartel, PhD

Quinton Smith, PhD
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Mentor: Sangeeta Bhatia, MD, PhD

Jeannette Tenthorey, PhD
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Mentor: Harmit Malik, PhD

Matheus Victor, PhD
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Mentor: Li-Huei Tsai, PhD

Arielle Woznica, PhD
The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
Mentor: Julie Pfeiffer, PhD

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