The MacArthur Foundation has announced the 26 recipients of its 'genius' award, which include scientists, historians, artists, and others, the New York Times reports. Each fellow receives $625,000 over the course of five years, it adds.
"We are looking for people who have demonstrated what I would call big-C creativity," Cecilia Conrad, managing director of the foundation and head of the fellows program, tells the Times.
Among this year's class is Jenny Tung, an evolutionary anthropologist and geneticist at Duke University, who studies the connections between social status, genomics, and health, as the foundation notes at its site. Tung has found, for instance, that monkeys with lower social status express high levels of pro-inflammatory genes, and that if their social status changes, so too does their expression of their genes, a finding it says could have implications for human health.
Another fellow in this year's class is Zachary Lippman, a plant biologist at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, who studies the genetic mechanisms behind flowering and flower production. For example, he has used the CRISPR gene-editing tool to target tomato genes involved in flowering, which the foundation says could lead to hardier crops.