As a 2011 Pew Scholar, Thomas Fazzio, PhD, assistant professor of molecular medicine, joins a select group of researchers that includes 2006 Nobel Laureate and UMMS Professor Craig Mello, PhD. The Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences provides $240,000 in funding over four years to young investigators with outstanding promise who are doing biomedical research relevant to the advancement of human health. Dr. Fazzio is one of 22 researchers named to this year’s class. “The Pew program has recognized many outstanding young scientists over the years who have gone on to do ground breaking work in their fields,” said Fazzio. “It’s a great honor to be named one of this year’s Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences and to join the list of distinguished UMMS faculty members who have been recognized by the Pew Trust.” Fazzio studies how the chromatin structure of a cell’s DNA impacts gene expression in stem cells, conferring on these cells the unique ability to replicate and differentiate into many different types of cells. “We’re interested in understanding the biological processes that allow a stem cell to become a muscle cell, a blood cell, or any other kind of cell,” he said. “Using molecular, cellular, biochemical and genetic approaches, we’re uncovering the mechanisms by which chromatin structure and chromatin regulatory proteins impact gene expression, self-renewal and differentiation in stem cells.” Funding from the Pew Scholars Program Trust encourages early-career scientists to advance medical research by providing crucial support that enables them to take calculated risks and follow unanticipated leads to maximize the benefits of their research for society. “This award allows us to pursue high-reward, big picture ideas in the lab that we couldn’t do otherwise,” said Fazzio. Fazzio received his PhD from the University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in 2004. In 1999 he was awarded a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Predoctoral Fellowship and completed his undergraduate training at the University of Utah. He joined UMMS in 2010 after completing a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of California San Francisco.
For more information about the program and the scholars, visit the Pew website.
UMMS Pew Scholars