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Congratulations to MCB professor Victoria D’Souza, who was selected by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) as one of their 2016 Faculty Scholars. D’Souza is one of 84 early-career scientists in the U.S. who, according to HHMI, “have great potential to make unique contributions to their field.” This is the first year for the Faculty Scholars program, which was co-financed by the Simons Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
“I am pleased and honored to be named one of HHMI’s Faculty Scholars,” said D’Souza. “It is rewarding not only for the grant itself, but also for the confidence the committee has shown in my research.”
D’Souza’s research is concerned with retroviruses, specifically focusing on the structural elements of reverse transcription and gene translation. Her lab uses nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) to study large RNA and protein complexes, with the goal of discovering ways for anti-viral drugs to interfere with RNA-protein or protein-protein interactions.
“Many of the research projects in my lab are not only high-risk, high-gain, but also incredibly high-cost projects,” said D’Souza. “Much of the grant will be used to cover day-to-day operations of such research in the lab”
The Faculty Scholars program will support each scientist for five years, with new Scholars named every two and a half years. The goal of the program is to invest in new scientists, giving them the freedom to pursue their research for some time without worrying about needing new grants. The program will also encourage collaboration and interdisciplinary work through mentoring and career development.

Link to HHMI announcement

The 2016 Faculty Scholars (PDF)

View Victoria D’Souza’s Faculty Profile