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Megan Baldridge, MD, PhD receives 2017 Innovator Award

Megan Baldridge, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine, is among 13 recipients to receive  Kenneth Rainin Foundation “Innovator Awards”.  The foundation has awarded $3 million for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) research through its Innovator Awards program. Grants will support an international pool of early-career and seasoned researchers to study untested ideas that could lead to breakthrough discoveries about IBD.

The title of Dr. Baldridge’s project is “Single-cell genomics resolution of microbe-virus interactions in IBD”.  “We study the complicated interplay among three important factors: commensal microbes, the host immune system, and viral and bacterial pathogens” said Baldridge.

“Innovator Awards provide critical initial support to high-risk research that will help us improve the prevention and prediction, as well as better management of the disease by doctors and patients.”– Dr. Laura Wilson, Director, Health Strategy and Ventures

Funded projects include an array of basic, translational, and clinical science research related to IBD, such as the microbiome, immunity and inflammation, and diet and nutrition. Grantees receive a $100,000 grant, and those who demonstrate significant progress toward their goals are eligible for an additional two years of support.

“This year’s grantees are pursuing research that has the potential to yield important insights into this chronic disease.” said Dr. Laura Wilson, Director of Health Strategy and Ventures at the Kenneth Rainin Foundation. “Innovator Awards provide critical initial support to high-risk research that will help us improve the prevention and prediction, as well as better management of the disease by doctors and patients.”

“Innovator Awards provide critical initial support to high-risk research that will help us improve the prevention and prediction, as well as better management of the disease by doctors and patients.”– Dr. Laura Wilson, Director, Health Strategy and Ventures

With this round of grants, the Foundation is supporting an increased number of early- career investigators, new areas of research, and the development of pilot studies that will inform future larger trials. “We pursue the boldest ideas that can truly transform the way we approach this complex disease,” said Dr. Averil Ma, chair of the Rainin Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board and Chief of Gastroenterology at the University of California, San Francisco.

“The generous support of the Kenneth Rainin Foundation will allow us to utilize the most cutting-edge technologies and rapidly advance our project to understand microbial factors that contribute to disease pathogenesis, and ultimately the quality of life of IBD patients,” said Dr. Janelle Arthur, Assistant Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of North Carolina School of Medicine.

2017 Innovator Award grantees include:

Janelle Arthur, PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Megan Baldridge, MD, PhD, Washington University
Ilana Brito, PhD, Cornell University
Benoit Chassaing, PhD, Georgia State University
Timothy Hand, PhD, University of Pittsburgh
Holly Ingraham, PhD, University of California, San Francisco
Ophir Klein, MD, PhD, University of California, San Francisco
Edward Nieuwenhuis, PhD, Utrecht Universiteit
Noah Palm, PhD, Yale University
Read Pukkila-Worley, MD, University of Massachusetts
George Rainger, PhD, University of Birmingham
Andrea Reboldi, PhD, University of Massachusetts
Neal Silverman, PhD, University of Massachusetts

Categories: Division Announcements