Three Wash U. scientists land big grants

2012-10-11T07:30:00Z 2012-10-11T11:47:44Z Three Wash U. scientists land big grantsBY JOE HOLLEMAN • jholleman@post-dispatch.com > 314-340-8254 stltoday.com

Big money — about $6.2 million — for big ideas is flowing to three scientists at Washington University's School of Medicine.

The grants, given to "pursue visionary research that has the potential to transform science and improve public health," are from the "High Risk-High Reward" program administered by the National Institute of Health.

Andrew Yoo, assistant professor of developmental biology, received a $2.3 million award. Yoo studies the genetic pathways that determine a cell's fate. His research suggests it may one day be possible to regrow healthy neurons in patients with neuro-degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s or Huntington’s disease.

Robert W. Gereau IV and Michael R. Bruchas, professors of anesthesiology, will share a $3.9 million award with John A. Rogers, an engineer at the University of Illinois. The three are working to develop light-emitting devices that could allow them to map the molecular and cellular properties of neural circuits. With this knowledge, scientists can better understand how those circuits transmit pain after nerve injury.

"Joe's St. Louis" appears online Monday through Friday and in print on Saturday. Joe Holleman's "Life Sherpa" column appears on Sunday in Everyday. Follow Holleman on Facebook and Twitter.

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