Dr. Patrick Paddison has been selected by The Pew Charitable Trusts as a 2009 Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences. The highly competitive awards were given this year to 17 early career scientists who display outstanding promise in research relevant to the advancement of human health. Paddison, who came to the Hutchinson Center's Human Biology Division last year from New York’s Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, will receive $240,000 during the course of four years to help support his research in stem-cell and cancer biology.
Paddison also gains inclusion into a select community of scientists that encourages collaboration and the exchange of ideas.
“The Pew Biomedical Scholars are a synergistic community whose connections are reinforced over the years,” said Dr. Craig Mello, a 2006 Nobel laureate in physiology or medicine, a 1995 Pew Scholar and the chair of the national advisory committee for the scholar program. “I have no doubt that this immensely talented and diverse new class of Pew Scholars will have a major impact on biomedical research through their contributions as part of the Pew community and on science as a whole.”
A common goal in biomedical research is to define how a cell maintains or alters its identity, which has implications in stem-cell biology and human disease. Paddison’s work revolves around using functional genetic approaches to tease out the network of genes that regulate cell fate. Using a genomewide scale-screening technique that he developed based on RNA interference (RNAi), Paddison will compare the gene expression patterns from different in vitro stem-cell systems, to identify gene networks that regulate mammalian-cell identity. His work will illuminate new gene networks to target for therapeutic purposes and will contribute to how RNAi itself may be used as a therapeutic agent for human diseases such as cancer.
“It is, of course, an honor to be named a Pew Scholar for the work under way in my lab. For me, the award underscores the fact that the research environment at the Center creates opportunities for young scientists to excel,” Paddison said.
Now in its 25th year, the Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences has invested more than $125 million to fund more than 460 scholars—among them the Center's Drs. Dan Gottschling, Susan Parkhurst, Nina Salama and Toshio Tsukiyama. Many alumni have received prestigious awards, including the Nobel Prize, MacArthur Fellowships and the Albert Lasker Medical Research Award.
To view the list of 2009 Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences and read about their research, visit www.pewscholars.org.
[Adapted from a news release from The Pew Charitable Trusts.]