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Updated 10:00 AM June 22, 2009

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LSI's Kim named 2009 Pew Scholar

John Kim, Life Science Institute faculty member and assistant professor in the Medical School Department of Human Genetics, was named one of 17 Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences for 2009.

Awarded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, early-career scientists who demonstrate excellence and innovation in their research receive $240,000 over four years to help support their work. The scholars also gain inclusion into a select community of scientists that includes Nobel Prize winners, MacArthur Fellows and recipients of the Albert Lasker Medical Research Award.

Kim studies the detailed steps of how small non-coding micro-RNAs (miRNAs) recognize the genes that they regulate and direct them to be turned off. His work centers on the identification of a new group of proteins that bind to these miRNAs, and the genetic sequences they target in the model organism C. elegans.

By understanding the role that these newly identified proteins play in regulating known miRNA targets, his studies will provide crucial insights into what now is known to be a mode of gene regulation required for normal development and disease prevention.

The selection process for the Pew Scholars is rigorously competitive. Applicants must be nominated by an invited institution. This year 149 institutions were invited to nominate a candidate in basic biomedical research, and 111 eligible nominations were received. Now in its 25th year, the program has invested more than $125 million to fund more than 460 scholars.

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