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NIH Awards $141M in 2014 under High Risk-High Reward Program

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The National Institutes of Health today said that it has awarded 85 grants totaling $141 million in 2014 to researchers working on "highly innovative approaches to major contemporary challenges in biomedical research" under the High Risk-High Reward program.

Along with the NIH, the agency's Common Fund supports the program.

"Supporting innovative investigators with the potential to transform scientific fields is a critical element of our mission," NIH Director Francis Collins said in a statement. "This program allows researchers to propose highly creative research projects across a broad range of biomedical and behavioral research areas that involve inherent risk but have the potential to lead to dramatic breakthroughs."

Under the program, the NIH awarded 10 Pioneer awards this year, 50 New Innovator awards, eight Transformative Research awards, and 17 Early Independence awards.

Among the winners are Ibrahim Cissé, an assistant professor of physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who will use a five-year, $2.34 million New Innovator Award to research transcription at single-molecule resolution in live mammalian cells, MIT said.

Also, Chenghang Zong, an assistant professor of molecular and human genetics at the Baylor College of Medicine, will direct a five-year $1.5 million New Innovator Award to profile and better understand genomic variation at the single-cell level in solid cancers, Baylor said.

Pamela Kreeger, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison will use a five-year, $2.3 million New Innovator Award to conduct proteomic research into ovarian cancer. The university said that she will develop in vitro culture systems to mimic the spread of ovarian cancer cells and how they develop chemotherapy resistance.