Engineering Professor Receives NIH Director’s Pioneer Award

Oct 10, 2012

By UCLA Samueli Newsroom

Yi Tang, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, has received an NIH Director’s Pioneer Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Established in 2004, the award supports investigators taking “highly innovative approaches that have the potential to produce a high impact on a broad area of biomedical or behavioral research.”

Tang, who also holds a faculty appointment in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, was one of 10 researchers nationwide who were selected for the award, which provides research funding for $2.5 million over five years.

Conducting the research project “Rediscovering Natural Chemical Diversity,” Tang is exploring how nature generates structural diversity among small molecule bioactive compounds. He will then apply his findings to engineer organisms such as plants, bacteria and fungi that expand upon nature’s diversity and produce new bioactive compounds that could prove useful as antibiotics, anti-cancer drugs or other new therapeutics.

The NIH Director’s Pioneer Award, established in 2004, is made under the High Risk High Reward program supported by the NIH Common Fund. Tang and the other awardees will be recognized at a two-day NIH Director’s Pioneer Award Symposium, Sept. 13-14 in Bethesda, MD. Visit the Pioneer Award Web site for more information.

Learn more about Tang’s research at his laboratory website.

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