TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2016

TSRI announces appointment of Patapoutian as HHMI investigator

The Scripps Research Institute, a La Jolla, California-based biomedical science research organization, recently announced that a professor in the organization's Dorris Neuroscience Center has been named a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator.

Ardem Patapoutian was one of 26 biomedical researchers from throughout the U.S. selected for HHMI's flagship investigator program from 1,155 applicants. Patapoutian and the other investigators will start five-year appointments in September and will receive significant support needed to drive their research in creative directions.

"I am immensely pleased for Ardem and what his selection says about him and TSRI," Michael Marletta, the president and CEO of TSRI, said. "Ardem's work in mechanotransduction is transformative. Our expectations are even higher for him now."

Patapoutian and his team are investigating the molecular aspects of mechanotransduction, a process by which cells change mechanical forces into chemical signals. The lab is looking into the identification of molecules that sense forces, figuring out how they work and clarifying their physiological purposes in biological processes like sensing touch, experiencing pain and blood pressure. Patapoutian's team will also look into mechanotransduction as it relates to disease.

Other HHMI investigators recently recognized for their demonstrated potential to significantly contribute to biomedical science come from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University and Harvard University.

The current group of 330 HHMI investigators includes more than 160 members of the National Academy of Sciences and 15 Nobel laureates.