Young Researchers Bring Fresh Perspectives to Accelerate Progress

Each year, the Children’s Discovery Institute presents two fellowship awards to talented fellows with a successful track record and who are engaged in projects related to the mission of the Institute. These post-doctoral fellows have prior training in a medical or basic science lab and have decided to make medical research their career.

Our fellowship awards are dedicated to developing young scientists and “getting them into the game.” They engage the next generation of researchers and tap into fresh, innovative ideas. Fellows perform research under the expert guidance of mentoring senior investigators. As they evolve, these young researchers will build on their discoveries and insight to pursue their own research ideas.

In February, we granted two new fellowship awards.

One recipient is Gang Xu, DSc, a researcher in mechanical and aerospace engineering, who is working to understand abnormalities in cilia, the tiny, whip-like hairs lining the respiratory system that help clear the airways. Gang is applying his engineering background to learn more about the biological mechanisms of cilia and their role in pulmonary diseases.

In addition, Martha Bhattacharya, PhD, received a fellowship to develop molecular strategies to prevent the chemotherapy drug vincristine from causing peripheral nerve damage, which results in pain and loss of nerve function. This research will give us valuable insights into reducing chemotherapy toxicity in children with cancer.

These young researchers bring intellectual energy, fresh perspectives and open-mindedness to the Children’s Discovery Institute and are an investment in the future of research—and potential new treatments and cures.

The Children’s Discovery Institute offers these young researchers a vital connection to a community of experienced investigators. The Institute also serves as an incubator of ideas not always funded elsewhere, and brings creative minds and innovative ideas together to form building blocks for future research.

We look forward to the many contributions our stellar young fellows are sure to make. The research horizon at the Children’s Discovery Institute has unlimited possibilities thanks to their creative thinking and enthusiasm combined with our experienced investigators.

Mary Dinauer, MD, PhD

Mary Dinauer, MD, PhD, is the Scientific Director of the Children’s Discovery Institute. She also is the Fred M. Saigh Distinguished Chair in Pediatric Research at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, and Professor in Pediatrics, Pathology and Immunology at Washington University School of Medicine.