Infectious disease researcher Dr. Flaminia Catteruccia from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health has been named a faculty scholar by three of the nation’s largest philanthropies for her work to unravel the biology of malaria-carrying mosquitoes and develop innovative tools for malaria control. The prestigious award, part of a new partnership involving the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Simons Foundation, provides support for promising early-career scientists during the critical time when they establish their own laboratories and secure independent sources of funding.
“The research led by Flaminia and her colleagues holds enormous promise for malaria control, particularly in regions that are hardest-hit by the disease, such as sub-Saharan Africa,” says Dr. Dyann Wirth, Richard Pearson Strong Professor and chair of the department of immunology and infectious diseases at Harvard Chan School. “We are deeply proud of their work and, at the same time, grateful to HHMI, the Gates Foundation, and the Simons Foundation for their generosity in supporting it.”
A total of 84 early-career scientists from institutions across the country received awards under the new Faculty Scholars Program. The selection process was highly competitive and included over 1,400 applicants. Catteruccia is the sole Harvard Chan School investigator to receive the honor.
“I am deeply honored to be among the inaugural class of Faculty Scholars,” says Dr. Catteruccia, an associate professor of immunology and infectious diseases at Harvard Chan School. “The award will help catalyze my lab’s efforts to understand the complex interplay between the reproductive biology of the malaria mosquito and the development of the malaria parasite, and apply that knowledge toward novel methods for malaria control.”
She will receive $1.2 million over five years to cover researcher salaries, laboratory equipment, supplies, and other research expenses. The amount of funding awarded to Dr. Catteruccia and the other Faculty Scholars was based on several factors, including their current level of support from external grants.
Early-career scientists like Dr. Catteruccia face significant challenges, especially in light of the current constraints on federal research funding. As these investigators establish laboratories and compete for independent funding, they are often compelled to devote more time to grant writing and less time to dreaming up bold new experiments.
“We are very excited to welcome these accomplished scientists into the HHMI community,” said HHMI President Erin O’Shea. “We’re equally gratified to work alongside our philanthropic partners to help these early-career scientists move science forward by pursuing their bold ideas.”
Read the HHMI news release: https://www.hhmi.org/news/philanthropies-announce-selection-faculty-scholars
Read a Harvard Chan profile of Flaminia Catteruccia: Mosquito maven