Vamsi Mootha, MD, of the MGH Department of Medicine and the Department of Molecular Biology, is among 27 leading biomedical researchers from across the country selected as new Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Investigators. Beginning this fall, the five-year grant will support his continued investigation into the cellular power plants called mitochondria.
Mootha and his team have characterized the protein composition of these tiny subcellular components, developed tools that predict the function of those proteins, and are investigating the role of mitochondria in both rare inherited disorders and in common conditions such as cancer. “This is an exciting time for our laboratory,” he says. “HHMI support will allow us to focus on high-risk, high-reward projects and balance our efforts evenly between fundamental research and translational medicine.”
HHMI grants are designed to provide innovative researchers with flexible support that allows them to pursue findings into new, potentially unexpected directions. This year’s recipients were chosen from among 1,155 applicants. In 2006, Mootha was one of the first recipients of the HHMI Early Career Physician Scientist awards. He also received a 2004 MacArthur Foundation “genius grant,” led the team receiving the MGH Martin Prize for the best basic research publication of 2010, and received a 2011 Transformative Research Project Award from the National Institutes of Health.
Read more articles from the 05/17/13 Hotline issue.