Lara K. Mahal, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, is one of 31 researchers nationally to receive a 2008 New Innovator Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
She will use the 5-year, $1.5 million grant to decode how sugar molecules on cell surfaces encode information such as cell type and health. This may lead to better diagnostic and prognostic indicators for diseases such as cancer in which the cell status changes.
New Innovator Awards are given by NIH to early career investigators to pursue exceptionally innovative approaches that could transform biomedical and behavioral science.
“Nothing is more important to me than stimulating and sustaining deep innovation, especially for early career investigators and despite challenging budgetary times,” said NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D. “These highly creative researchers are tackling important scientific challenges with bold ideas and inventive technologies that promise to break through barriers and radically shift our understanding.”
Zerhouni announced the 2008 award recipients on September 22 at the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award Symposium.