$1.25m award for vaccine research

  • May 4, 2012
$1.25m award for vaccine research

Gates Cambridge alumna Nicole Basta wins major award from the NIH.

A Gates Cambridge alumna has been selected for a prestigious five-year, $1.25 million grant to investigate a meningitis vaccine in Mali.

Nicole Basta is one of the first 10 recipients of the National Institutes of Health Director’s Early Independence Award. The grant will support her proposal to evaluate the duration of protection provided by the new MenAfriVac meningococcal meningitis vaccine in Mali. The MenAfriVac vaccine was developed through a partnership between PATH and the WHO, with funding from the Gates Foundation.

The Award is designed to accelerate the entry of outstanding junior investigators into independent researcher positions immediately following completion of their graduate research degree or clinical residency. The NIH says “the EIA programme effectively allows awardees to leapfrog over the traditional post-doctoral training period, capitalising on the creativity, confidence, and energy of young scientists”.

The NIH Common Fund developed the EIA programme in response to an increasing trend in the length of the traditional scientific training period with a corresponding increase in the age at which scientists establish independent research careers. It says: “Although pursuing post-doctoral training is likely to be appropriate for the large majority of newly graduated researchers, there is a pool of young scientists who have the intellect, scientific creativity, drive, and maturity to flourish independently without the need for such training.”

“The Early Independence Award enables outstanding investigators to establish their independent research careers as soon as possible,” says NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. “These Early Independence Award recipients have demonstrated exceptional scientific creativity and productivity.”

Nicole completed her MPhil in Epidemiology at the University of Cambridge in 2004, where she was funded through a Gates Cambridge scholarship. Having gained her PhD from the University of Washington, she is currently working as an associate research scholar in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University.

For video footage about the award, click here.

Picture: renjith krishnan and www.freedigitalphotos.net

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