HHMI honors five Broad researchers

The scientists will receive flexible, long-term funding to pursue cutting-edge research projects.

Five members of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard are among the 33 biomedical researchers nationwide who will become Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigators this fall. Emily Balskus, Cassandra Extavour, Sun Hur, Cigall Kadoch, and Shingo Kajimura will receive long-term, flexible funding from HHMI, providing them the freedom to move their research forward in creative and new directions.

“Being named an HHMI Investigator is a terrific recognition of scientific vision,” said Todd Golub, director of the Broad Institute. “HHMI’s generous support will help them accelerate their truly innovative work.”

Balskus is an institute member in the Chemical Biology and Therapeutics Science Program (CBTS) at the Broad and a professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Harvard University. Her work seeks to understand and manipulate the metabolism of the human microbiome to improve human health.

Extavour is an affiliated member of the Infectious Disease and Microbiome Program at the Broad and a professor of organismic and evolutionary biology and of molecular and cellular biology at Harvard University. Extavour’s lab studies germ cell evolution using molecular genetics, protein chemistry, and modeling.

Hur is an associate member of the CBTS at the Broad, a senior investigator in the Program in Cellular & Molecular Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital, and the Oscar M. Schloss Professor of Pediatrics and a professor of biological chemistry and molecular pharmacology at Harvard Medical School. Hur’s research investigates the mechanisms behind self and non-self discrimination by the immune system.

Kadoch is an institute member and co-director of the Epigenomics Program at the Broad and an associate professor of pediatric oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School. Her lab studies chromatin and gene regulation with an emphasis on SWI/SNF (or BAF) chromatin remodeling complexes and their roles in human health and disease.

Kajimura is an associate member in the Metabolism Program at the Broad and a principal investigator at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School. His lab studies the mechanisms of bioenergetics with the goal of developing treatments for metabolic disorders.

The new HHMI investigators were selected from a pool of 800 tenured or tenure-track faculty with five to 15 years of professional experience across 21 U.S. institutions and will join a community of nearly 300 investigators. HHMI provides each investigator with support for basic biomedical research during the next seven years, at which time appointments may be renewed. 

HHMI makes awards to “people, not projects,” giving investigators the freedom to explore, to change direction if necessary, and to follow their ideas through to fruition over the course of many years.

Read more about Balskus, Extavour, Hur, Kadoch, Kajimura, and the other new investigators on the HHMI website.