Two School of Medicine scientists were honored recently with National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director’s Awards.
Alan Anticevic, Ph.D., associate research scientist in psychiatry, received the NIH Director’s Early Independence Award, and Andrew L. Goodman, Ph.D., assistant professor of microbial pathogenesis, has received the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award.
The Early Independence Award will support Anticevic’s work, which combines neuroimaging, computational modeling, and pharmacology to better understand the cognitive dysfunction seen in schizophrenia, an aspect of the illness for which there are no effective treatments. Anticevic, administrative director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism’s Center for the Translational Neuroscience of Alcoholism, is one of only 14 scientists in 2012 to receive the Early Independence Award, which is designed to provide junior scientists of exceptional merit “with the opportunity to conduct independent biomedical or behavioral research by skipping the conventional postdoctoral training period.” Anticevic received his doctorate from Washington University School of Medicine in 2011.
Goodman’s project, titled “Defining the Contribution of Interpersonal Microbial Variation to Drug Metabolism,” explores the influence of microbial communities in the gastrointestinal tract on drug metabolism.
Taking a novel approach that combines microbial ecology, robotics, and pharmacokinetics, Goodman seeks to understand why drugs commonly used to treat ulcerative colitis are ineffective for 35 percent of patients despite compelling evidence implicating gut microbes in both drug activation and inactivation.
The New Innovator awards, established in 2007, support investigators who are within 10 years of their terminal degree or clinical residency, but who have not yet received a Research Project Grant (R01) or equivalent NIH grant, to conduct exceptionally innovative research. They are a part of the NIH’s Common Fund High Risk-High Reward program, which “provides opportunities for innovative investigators in any area of health research to take risks when the potential impact in biomedical and behavioral science is high,” according to NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.