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Xinzhong Dong Named Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator - 05/19/2015

Xinzhong Dong Named Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator

Release Date: May 19, 2015
Xinzhong Dong
Xinzhong Dong
Xinzhong Dong, Ph.D., a professor of neuroscience and neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, has been named a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigator. Dong has been an HHMI early career scientist since 2009. The new, renewable five-year appointment will provide salary and benefits support for Dong, who will remain at Johns Hopkins, and members of his lab.
“With HHMI’s assistance, Xinzhong has transformed our understanding of how itch works,” says Stephen Desiderio, M.D., Ph.D. , director of the Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences at Johns Hopkins. “It is a tribute to his creativity that the institute has chosen to provide him with even greater support.”
Dong is one of 26 investigators announced today who collectively represent an investment in basic biomedical research of $153 million over the next five years. The new HHMI investigators are expected to begin their appointments in September 2015.
Dong’s research team is taking a multidisciplinary approach to understanding the mechanisms behind sensation, including pain, itch and touch. To do its research, the team has developed new molecular tools to examine nerve cell circuitry and communication. His team has found that itchy sensations are relayed by a specialized type of nerve cell that is distinct from nerves that sense pain. It also has discovered the molecular culprit in rash reactions to many drugs.
After earning a B.A. from College of the Holy Cross and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles, Dong completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at the California Institute of Technology. He was an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow and a Whitehall Foundation Fellow. He won a Young Investigator Award from the Chinese Biological Investigator Society and an American Asthma Foundation Scholar Award.

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