Congratulations to two of our alumni, James E.K. Hildreth, Med ’87 and Andrew P. Feinberg, Med ’76, who are 2011 recipients of the National Institutes of Health's Director’s Pioneer Award. The Award supports innovative ideas that have the potential to propel fields forward and speed the translation of research into improved health for the American public.
Hildreth's research (Role Of Natural Pseudotyping With Other Viruses In HIV Transmission) will explore the hypothesis that other viruses are contributing to the high prevalence of HIV in certain parts of the world. For instance, young women in some countries are exhibiting much higher rates of HIV than cannot be explained by their behavior, environment or the infection rate of their partners.
Feinberg’s research (A General Stochastic Epigenetic Model For Evolution, Development, And Disease) involves non-DNA sequence-related heredity; his early studies of epigenetic alterations of genes in human cancer were controversial. Because it involves the relationship between an individual's genetic background, the environment, aging and diseases such as cancer, epigenetics today is at the epicenter of modern medicine.