Stanford, CA—The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and the Simons Foundation have awarded José Dinneny, of Carnegie’s Department of Plant Biology an HHMI-Simons Faculty Scholar grant. He is one of 84 scientists chosen out of some 1,400 applicants in a new program that the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), the Simons Foundation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have created. The grant will provide $250,000 per year for five years, in addition to overhead expenses, for an award total of $1,500,000.

The award will be funded by the Simons Foundation and administered by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Faculty Scholars are “early-career scientists who have great potential to make unique contributions to their field.”

“It’s a great honor to be recognized by these important foundations. This award will allow me to pursue my passion to a much greater extent and break into new areas of basic discovery and crop engineering,” remarked Dinneny.

José Dinneny looks at the mechanisms plants use to sense water availability in their environment and survive stressful conditions such as drought and salinity. He investigates developmental pathways and molecular genetic mechanisms involved in sculpting the plant to suit the environment. His work has led to the exploration of water-stress responses in plants at unparalleled spatial/temporal resolution. His team has discovered novel adaptive mechanisms used by roots to capture water, and he has invented novel imaging methods for these studies of this system. 

“José is an exceptional scientist with a lot of creativity and drive and I am certain that this award will catalyze even more innovative research from his group. We are proud to have him as a colleague,” said Department of Plant Biology Director Sue Rhee.

“We could not be more excited that José has received this prestigious recognition,” remarked Carnegie president Matthew Scott. “He is proof that Andrew Carnegie’s original idea—that supporting exceptional and imaginative scientists leads to paradigm-changing discoveries—is a winning and timeless formula.”

This is the first collaboration between HHMI, the Simons Foundation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The philanthropic groups created this program “in response to growing concern about the significant challenges that early-career scientists are facing. The career trajectory for early-career scientists has become much less certain as competition for grant support intensifies. In the last two decades, the U.S. has witnessed a dramatic decline in the National Institutes of Health research award success rate for scientists, as well as a striking increase in the average age at which an investigator receives his or her first R01-equivalent grant.” (See the HHMI press release. See the gallery of scholars.)

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The Howard Hughes Medical Institute

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute plays an influential role in advancing scientific research and education in the United States. Its scientists, located across the country and around the world, have made important discoveries that advance both human health and our fundamental understanding of biology. The Institute also aims to transform science education into a creative, interdisciplinary endeavor that reflects the excitement of real research.

The Simons Foundation

The Simons Foundation was established by Jim and Marilyn Simons in 1994. Its mission is to advance the frontiers of research in mathematics and the basic sciences, and the foundation sponsors a range of programs that aim to promote a deeper understanding of our world. Its life sciences division supports research on fundamental questions in diverse areas of biology.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people – especially those with the fewest resources – have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.

 

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