Whitehead Fellow receives prestigious NIH Early Independence Award
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Whitehead Fellow Gabriel Victora has been named a recipient of a 2012 National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director’s Early Independence Award, aimed at accelerating the careers of exceptionally creative junior scientists.
Modeled after Whitehead Institute’s renowned Fellows Program, the Early Independence Award program was launched in 2011 to support young scientists within one year of having earned their doctoral degrees. The award enables qualified recipients to conduct independent biomedical or behavioral research by skipping the traditional postdoctoral training period.
“The NIH is identifying those exceptional students that have the intellect, innovation, drive, and maturity to flourish independently without the need for traditional postdoctoral training,” says NIH Director Francis Collins.
Victora, one of only 14 awardees selected nationwide, will receive five years of funding from the NIH for his research into the way the cells of the immune system interact to generate high-affinity antibodies that confer protection from disease-causing viruses and bacteria. Improved understanding of these interactions could aid in the development of more effective vaccines and treatments for allergies and autoimmune diseases.
“I am honored to be among the recipients of the Early Independence Award,” Victora says. “I am pleased that the NIH is embarking on supporting this kind of shortcut to independence, and I am sure that exciting science will emerge from this initiative.”
Victora joined Whitehead Institute in early 2012, having graduated with his PhD from New York University’s Molecular Oncology and Immunology training program, where he conducted research in a collaboration between the labs of Michael Dustin at NYU and Michel Nussenzweig at Rockefeller University.
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