New faculty member receives $400,000 award

Bielas wins New Scholar in Aging award from The Ellison Medical Foundation for studies on cancer and age-related disease
Dr. Jason Bielas
Dr. Jason Bielas, Public Health Sciences Division, is among 25 investigators selected by The Ellison Medical Foundation to receive a $400,000, four-year award. Photo by Nolan Ericson

After mere months on the Hutchinson Center faculty, the Public Health Sciences Division’s Dr. Jason Bielas has won a New Scholar in Aging award from The Ellison Medical Foundation.

Bielas is among 25 investigators selected by the foundation to receive a $400,000, four-year award. Recruited to the Molecular Diagnostics Program last fall from the University of Washington, Bielas is pioneering work on the fundamental and clinical implications of nuclear and mitochondrial DNA mutations in the pathogenesis of cancer and age-related disease.

“He is an exceptionally creative scientist who has essentially brought an entirely new scientific direction to the Center,” Dr. Lee Hartwell wrote in his recommendation for the award.

Dr. Samir Hanash, head of the Molecular Diagnostics Program wrote, “Bielas is proposing a promising and far-reaching strategy that exploits his extensive experience in mutagenesis research to elucidate the mechanisms of mitochondrial mutagenesis in aging and age-related diseased. Successful realization of Bielas’ specific aims will broaden our knowledge of the nature of aging and potentially help extend the number of healthy and active years of [human] life.”

“In addition to the great honor of being selected, the award will provide my lab with additional funding to integrate and complement new and exciting age-related research into our current studies,” Bielas said. “During the next few years these funds will provide support to forge new collaborations, generate preliminary data to acquire continued funding, and ultimately fulfill our aim to extend healthy life expectancy and quality of life.”

Founded in 1997 by Larry Ellison, president of Oracle software, The Ellison Medical Foundation supports basic biomedical research on aging relevant to understanding lifespan development processes and age-related diseases and disabilities. The foundation’s goal is contribute to a “safety net” of support that allows newly independent investigators to staff their laboratories, collect preliminary data and organize research programs of sufficient momentum to obtain ongoing support from other sources.

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