Cincinnati Children’s Way Wins HHMI Faculty Scholar Award From Bill & Melinda Gates and Simons Foundations

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Groundbreaking research into how the immune system works in early newborn development has led to Cincinnati Children’s physician Sing Sing Way being named a Faculty Scholar by The Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Simons Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

A physician and scientific investigator in the Division of Infectious Diseases, Way (MD, PhD) studies how genetically foreign maternal and fetal tissues coexist during pregnancy. His research team has shown that understanding how the immune system works in unique developmental contexts could lead to new therapies for improving pregnancy.

Way is one of 84 Faculty Scholars from 43 institutions. The designees are early-career scientists who have great potential to make unique contributions to their field, according to HHMI officials. 

This is the first collaboration between HHMI, the Simons Foundation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The philanthropies joined forces in response to growing concern about the significant challenges that early-career scientists face, according to a statement issued by the groups.

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.

The range of five-year grant award totals is $600,000-$1.8 million, including indirect costs. The awards are subject to applicants and their institutions fulfilling the requirements of the grant-making organizations. Faculty Scholars are required to devote at least 50 percent of their total effort to the direct conduct of research.

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Nick Miller