Jul 9, 2018
NIH NIGMS logo
Professors Hosea Nelson & Jose Rodriguez have been awarded a highly prestigious Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) R35 Grant from the NIH/NIGMS.
 
The National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), part of the National Institutes of Health, has awarded Nelson and Rodriguez each more than $1.8 million over five years to support their research programs.
 
The MIRA program supports investigators’ overall research programs through a single, unified grant rather than individual project grants. The goal is to provide investigators with greater stability and flexibility, thereby enhancing scientific productivity and the chances for important breakthroughs. 
 
An assistant professor of chemistry, Hosea Nelson's group focuses on the discovery of new chemical reactions that can be used to synthesize drug molecules in a green and cost-efficient manner. As a major objective of the research funded by this award, Nelson and his coworkers will develop catalysts that allow for the syntheses of bioactives such as Artemisinin, a potent anti-malarial agent. His most recent work in reaction discovery was recently published in Science Magazine.
 
Nelson joined the UCLA faculty in 2015. In 2017, he was among 18 outstanding young scientists in the United States to be awarded Packard Fellowships for Science and Engineering by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.  In 2018, he was awarded a 2018 Sloan Research Fellowship and was an inaugural member of Chemical and Engineering News magazine’s Talented 12 in recognition for his achievements as a graduate student, postdoctoral scholar and assistant professor. 
 
Jose Rodriguez, an assistant professor of biochemistry, is developing new methods in structure determination of macromolecules. His group focuses on protein assemblies that cause disease, including neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. His most recent structure of an infectious proteins assembly, a prion, was published earlier this year in Nature Structural and Molecular Biology.
 
Rodriguez received his B.S. in Biophysics and his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology at UCLA. Prior to joining the UCLA faculty in 2016, he was a postdoctoral scholar in the group of Professor David Eisenberg.  In 2017, Rodriguez was named a Searle Scholar and selected as a 2017 Beckman Young Investigator by the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation. Rodriguez holds the Howard Reiss Development Chair.
 
In 2018, both Nelson and Rodriguez were selected as Pew Scholars.