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2023 Awardees

Polly Fordyce

Polly Fordyce, Ph.D.

Stanford University

Project Title: Using Microfluidics to Realize Patient-Specific Anti-Cancer Immunotherapies
Grant ID: DP1-CA290563

Polly Fordyce graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with undergraduate degrees in physics and biology before moving to Stanford University, where she earned a Ph.D. in physics for single-molecule biophysics work with Professor Steve Block. For her postdoctoral research, she worked with Professor Joe DeRisi at UCSF to develop new microfluidic platforms for understanding how proteins recognize and bind their DNA and protein targets. Her lab now develops and applies microfluidic platforms for quantitative and high-throughput biophysics, biochemistry, and single-cell biology with the goal of understanding how the sequence of a molecule encodes its function.

William Greenleaf

William James Greenleaf, Ph.D., Dip. Comp. Sci.

Stanford University

Project Title: Combinatorial Cell State Engineering
Grant ID: DP1-HG013599

William Greenleaf is a Professor in the Genetics Department at Stanford University School of Medicine, with a courtesy appointment in the Applied Physics Department. He received an A.B. in physics from Harvard University in 2002, received a Gates Fellowship to study computer science at Trinity College, Cambridge, UK, then completed his Ph.D. in Applied Physics at Stanford, followed by postdoctoral work in the Chemistry and Chemical Biology Department at Harvard University. His highly interdisciplinary research links molecular biology, computer science, bioengineering, and genomics to understand how the physical state of the human genome controls gene regulation. His long-term goal is to unlock an understanding of the physical “regulome” — the factors that control how the genetic information is read into biological instructions — enabling the purposeful navigation of cellular state in health and disease.

Mandë Holford

Mandë Holford, Ph.D.

Hunter College; The CUNY Graduate Center; The American Museum of Natural History; Weill Cornell Medicine

Project Title: Charting the Evolutionary Development of Novel Genes and the Molecular Mechanisms of Gland Tissue Organization in Cephalopods
Grant ID: DP1-AT012812

Mandë Holford’s Laboratory of Chemical and Biological Diversity demonstrates the scientific path from mollusks to medicine, examining how venom evolved over time, and how we can use this evolutionary knowledge as a roadmap for discovering and characterizing peptide natural products with therapeutic potential. She is particularly interested in using venoms and venom peptides to study rapidly evolving genes and to develop invertebrate venom gland model systems that can be genetically manipulated to advance discoveries in novel gene regulation, express and function. She was an undergraduate at The City University of New York, completed her PhD at The Rockefeller University with Tom Muir, and with her independent NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship, she initiated an international collaboration with Baldomero “Toto” Olivera at the University of Utah, Philippe Bouchet at the Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle in Paris, and Ines Ibañez-Tallon, at the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in Berlin, to pioneer an integrated venomics strategy that revealed the evolution and function of terebrid snail venom peptides (teretoxins). She has been awarded an Allen Institute Distinguished Investigator Award, an NSF CAREER award, a WINGS Women of Discovery Fellowship, a Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, a AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellowship, selected as a World Economic Forum Champion Young Scientist and Sustainability Pioneer, a fellow of the California Academy of Sciences, and a member of the NASEM Roundtable on Science Diplomacy. She coFounded Killer Snails, an Ed-Tech learning games company to bring science out of laboratories and into classrooms and living rooms, and 2030STEM, a non-profit dedicated to building a better STEM world for all. Her work combines scientific research, education and diplomacy to understand the extraordinary marine biodiversity on our planet and transform this knowledge for the benefit of human and planetary health.

Kevin Johnson

Kevin B. Johnson, M.D., M.S.

University of Pennsylvania

Project Title: Helping Doctors Doctor: Using AI to Automate Documentation and De-Autonomate Health Care
Grant ID: DP1-LM014558
Funded by the National Library of Medicine and Common Fund

Kevin B. Johnson, MD, MS is the David L. Cohen University Professor of Pediatrics, Biomedical Informatics, and Science Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. He is an internationally known developer and evaluator of clinical information technology, with research interests focused on developing and encouraging the adoption of clinical information systems to improve patient safety and compliance with practice guidelines. He is widely known for his work with e-prescribing and computer-based documentation, as well as his recent creative endeavors to communicate science to lay audiences, including a feature-length documentary about health information exchange.

He is the author of over 200 publications and has won dozens of awards over his career. Notably, he was elected to the American College of Medical Informatics in 2004, The Academic Pediatric Society in 2010, the National Academy of Medicine (Institute of Medicine) in 2010, the International Association of Health Science Informatics in 2021, and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering in 2022.

Lei Qi

Lei Stanley Qi, Ph.D.

Stanford University

Project Title: Manipulating and Interrogating Spatial Transcriptomics
Grant ID: DP1-NS137219

Dr. Qi is an associate professor in the department of Bioengineering at Stanford University, an institute scholar at the Sarafan ChEM-H, and a Chan Zuckerberg Biohub Investigator. He played an integral role in inventing the nuclease-dead dCas system and in the development of various CRISPR tools that extend beyond DNA editing, including CRISPRi, CRISPRa, live-cell chromatin imaging, and 3D genome perturbation. His current research is centered on creating and utilizing imaging and manipulation tools to understand the function of genome and transcriptome organization within the nervous system, with the ultimate goal of treating neurological disorders. He received his doctoral degree in Bioengineering from the University of California, Berkeley and was a Systems Biology Fellow at the University of California, San Francisco.

Tânia Reis

Tânia Reis, Ph.D.

University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

Project Title: Food for Thought: A Virus-Like Signal for the Energetic Demands of Higher Cognitive Functions
Grant ID: DP1-DK139570

Tânia Reis earned her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from the University of Porto in Portugal and earned her PhD as part of the groundbreaking Gulbenkian PhD Program in Biology and Medicine. Tânia did her PhD research under the mentorship of Bruce Edgar at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. During postdoctoral work with Iswar Hariharan at UC Berkeley, Tânia developed a paradigm to study mechanisms of energy homeostasis. In 2011, Tânia began her research program at the Anschutz Medical Campus of the University of Colorado with the goal of discovering ways that organs communicate with each other to maintain organismal energy balance. Tânia is a strong believer that innovations in research have to go hand in hand with innovative ways to make science more equitable and inclusive.

Fan Wang

Fan Wang, Ph.D.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Project Title: Unraveling the Neural Bases of Body Schema
Grant ID: DP1-NS137188

Fan Wang obtained her PhD from Columbia University and received postdoctoral training at UCSF and Stanford University. She was a professor at Duke University from 2003 to 2020 and moved to MIT in 2021. She is currently an Investigator of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research, and Professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT. Dr. Wang’s research aims to delineate neural circuit mechanisms generating pain, touch, and body schema perceptions, and sensorimotor behaviors. Her ultimate goal is to help find better treatments for chronic pain and other neurological disorders affecting sensations and movements.

Ilana Witten

Ilana Witten, Ph.D.

Princeton University

Project Title: Individual Differences Through Self-Reinforcement of Suboptimal Strategies
Grant ID: DP1-MH136573

Ilana Witten is a professor of neuroscience at Princeton University. She obtained a PhD from Stanford University in neuroscience in 2008, where she worked in the systems neuroscience lab of Eric Knudsen and collaborated with Haim Sompolinsky of Hebrew University. As a postdoctoral fellow, she worked with Karl Deisseroth at Stanford University. Since 2012, she has been on the faculty at Princeton. By developing and applying new experimental technologies, and integrating them with a computational perspective, her research program has broken ground in the understanding of how learning and decision-making algorithms map onto brain circuitry.

This page last reviewed on January 26, 2024