Meet the 2011 MacArthur Fellows

The MacArthur Fellows Program awards unrestricted fellowships to talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction. There are three criteria for selection of Fellows: exceptional creativity, promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishment, and potential for the fellowship to facilitate subsequent creative work.

The MacArthur Fellows Program is intended to encourage people of outstanding talent to pursue their own creative, intellectual, and professional inclinations. In keeping with this purpose, the Foundation awards fellowships directly to individuals rather than through institutions. Recipients may be writers, scientists, artists, social scientists, humanists, teachers, entrepreneurs, or those in other fields, with or without institutional affiliations. They may use their fellowship to advance their expertise, engage in bold new work, or, if they wish, to change fields or alter the direction of their careers. 

Meet this year’s awardees.

Rockefeller One of Ten Sites Receiving Renewed Translational Medicine Grants

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Ten research institutes have received a total of $498 million from the National Center for Research Resources to fund the second five-year phase of their Clinical and Translational Science Institutes.

The largest awards in this second round of Clinical and Translational Science Awards funding include a $112 million grant to the University of California, San Francisco; $67.3 million to the University of Pittsburgh; $62.8 million to Mayo Clinic; and $54.8 million to the University of Pennsylvania.

Other research centers receiving the latest round of CTSA funding include Yale University ($45.4 million); Oregon Health & Sciences University ($39.8 million); Columbia University Medical Center ($38.9 million); Rockefeller University ($36.1 million); University of Rochester ($20.7 million); and UC Davis ($20 million).

“These institutes were the pioneers in this program and are to be commended for the work they have done in bridging the traditional divides between laboratory research and medical practice,” Barbara Alving, director of the National Center for Research Resources, said in a statement from UCSF.

“They were tasked with transforming the way their institutions coordinate research to make it more proactive and effective in producing real-world results, and in the process, they have served as innovative models nationwide,” Alving said.

According to UCSF, the National Institutes of Health plans to release a report on the CTSA program in August that will highlight the research that has sprung from this program.

UCSF said that the CTSA grants have supported the creation of a framework to enable researchers to “move beyond the traditional silos of science to collaborate on promising research and find the training and resources to move those projects ahead.”

The university said that at UCSF the funding has enabled the creation of “an extensive network of training and support for researchers to help bridge the gaps between laboratory science, clinical care, and improvements in health.”

The Crisis in Higher Education: perspective of William Deresiewicz

William Deresiewicz at The Nation says that the PhD problem in the US — that there are too many PhDs for the number of academic jobs available — all boils down to “efficiency.”   Deresiewicz says that because they are “cheaper to hire and easier to fire,” contingent academic employees — such as non-tenure-track faculty — save institutions money. Deresiewicz goes on to analogize that over the few decades “what has happened in academia is what has happened throughout the American economy. Good, secure, well-paid positions — tenured appointments in the academy, union jobs on the factory floor — are being replaced by temporary, low-wage employment,” he says.  Read the full article online.

New International Competition Focuses on Early Career Scientists

News from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)

HHMI today launched an international competition to select up to 35 early career scientists working at academic institutions in 18 countries on five continents with the goal of helping these talented individuals establish independent research programs.

For the full story, go to http://www.hhmi.org/news/intlearlycareer20101201.html

Livemocha(TM) Brings Language Learning Out of the Stone Age

Livemocha(TM), the world’s largest online language learning community, announced the launch of Livemocha Active Courses(TM), a set of ground-breaking online language courses for English, French, Italian, German and Spanish that promise conversational fluency through the combination of world-class course curriculum, personalized feedback from Livemocha Experts, and limitless practice with native speakers.

Designed with the help of leading language publishers Pearson and Harper Collins, the new Active Courses provide a set of online self-study courses that match or exceed the educational caliber of traditional textbook curriculum while integrating online community instruction to ensure the level of fluency that only practice with native speakers can bring. The Active Course offerings promise conversational fluency upon course completion and at a fraction of the cost of traditional language learning software.

Livemocha will continue to offer free, basic lessons in 38 languages including Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, Farsi, Hindi and Ukrainian.

Find Your Next Career Option: Subscribe to GenomeWeb for Access to Job Postings

GenomeWeb now has job listings! Check them out for free. Here’s a sample of recently added jobs:

Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Nebraska- Lincoln
Sequencing Sales Specialist – Boston, Pacific Biosciences
Programmer Analyst I, Stowers Institute
Scientist, Illumina
Scientist/Sr. Research Associate, Avantra Biosciences Corporation

NATURE Conferences: Genomics of Infectious Diseases in March

The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG), The Human Genome Organisation (HUGO) and Nature Publishing Group are pleased to announce: Genetics and Genomics of Infectious Diseases March 21-24, 2009, The Ritz Carlton Millenia Hotel, Singapore

Early Bird Registration has been extended to January 30.

Classical and emerging infectious diseases, viral pandemics, and drug-resistant pathogens remain challenges to human health. However, contemporary advances in genetics and genomic technologies provide new approaches to understanding and combating these diseases. The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) and the Human Genome Organisation (HUGO) are partnering with Nature Publishing Group (NPG) to organize an international conference to discuss how the genomes, unique biologies, and interactions of both host and pathogen are being revealed using novel genomic technologies, and how this information can and will translate into disease management and therapies. This conference will engage basic and clinical scientists, including human geneticists, genome scientists, computational biologists, and experts in pathogenic microbial agents to chart the effects of genomics on questions in global infectious disease management.