2015 Searle Scholar

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Professor Sriram “Sri” Kosuri has been named 2015 Searle Scholar.                                                

One of 15 young scientists in the chemical and biological sciences to be named 2015 Searle Scholars, and the only from UCLA this year, Prof. Kosuri will be awarded funding to support his work exploring synthetic approaches to understand Cis-regulation during the next three years.  

“I am very honored to be named a 2015 Searle Scholar, and to be able to join such an illustrious group of current and former Searle Scholars. The funding will go a long way in helping our lab establish and apply several new genetic technologies to better understand gene regulation.” Kosuri said. “In today’s challenging funding environment, philanthropic programs such as the Searle allow us to pursue our most challenging but potentially most impactful research. I cannot thank the program enough, and look forward to interacting with the other current scholars over the next three years.”

Kosuri Sri 2015 Searle Comp

Professor Sri Kosuri named 2015 Searle Scholar. 

Prof. Kosuri joined the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry as assistant professor in January 2014.  Before that he was a member of the Advanced Technology Team in the Synthetic Biology Platform at the Wyss Institute.  Prof. Kosuri was a postdoc in George Church’s lab in the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and the Wyss Institute from 2009-2011. From 2007-2009, he was the first employee of a biofuel startup called Joule Unlimited. He received his ScD in Biological Engineering at MIT in Drew Endy’s lab.

“Each of these bold and talented young scientists has opened up novel approaches to answer fundamental questions in biology and the biomedical sciences,” said Dr. Doug Fambrough, Scientific Director. “In addition, they have all thought deeply about how their work might address major human burdens such as cancer, autoimmunity, and autism. We are delighted to be able to give an early boost to their careers.”

Since the program’s inception in 1980, 542 Searle Scholars have shared $115,620,000 in funding. This year, 186 applications were considered from recently appointed assistant professors, nominated by 126 universities and research institutions.

The 2015 Searle Scholars have already demonstrated innovative research and were selected due to their potential for making significant contributions to chemical and biological research over the course of their careers.

Searle Scholars are selected by a Scientific Advisory Board comprising 12 scientists distinguished for their research and leadership across a wide range of fields.

“It is a great honor to chair the Searle Scholars Advisory Board,” said Advisory Board Chair Dr. Mitch Lazar.  “Institutions from all over the United States put up their most promising young scientists, and the board has the difficult task of selecting the 15 winners. The Advisory Board comprises a world class group of accomplished senior scientists with the breadth and depth of expertise needed to evaluate the exciting, cutting edge applications we receive.”

The funds that support the awards come from trusts established under the wills of John G. and Frances C. Searle. Mr. Searle was President of G.D. Searle & Co., of Skokie, Illinois, a research-based pharmaceutical company. Mr. and Mrs. Searle expressed the wish that some of the proceeds of their estates be used for the support of research in medicine, chemistry, and the biological sciences.

In 1980, members of the Searle family acting as Consultants to the Trustees of the Trusts established under the wills of Mr. & Mrs. John G. Searle recommended the development of a program to support young biomedical scientists. This idea evolved into the Searle Scholars Program which is funded through grants from the family trusts to the Chicago Community Trust and administered by Kinship Foundation in Chicago, Illinois.

For more information about the Searle Scholars Program please visit: www.searlescholars.net.

To learn more about Prof. Kosuri’s research visit his website.

Photo credit: Penny Jennings, UCLA Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.