Stanley named a 2014 Searle Scholar in support of tuberculosis research

April 15, 2014

Sarah Stanley, assistant professor in infectious diseases and vaccinology, was recently selected as a 2014 Searle Scholar. The Searle Scholars Program supports the independent research of exceptional young faculty in the biomedical sciences and chemistry.

Stanley will receive $300,000 during the next three years, to fund her research investigating immune mechanisms that are important for controlling infection with M. tuberculosis. An estimated 2 billion people are infected with M. tuberculosis, a pathogenic bacterium that contributes to significant morbidity and mortality worldwide. Stanley’s research investigates links between host cellular metabolism and effective immune responses against M. tuberculosis, as well as mechanisms used by the bacterium to exploit and subvert host metabolism and immunity.

“We need a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms of M. tuberculosis pathogenesis in order to inform the design of the next generation of drugs and vaccines,” says Stanley. “I’m grateful to the Searle Scholars Program for their support of this research.”

Stanley joined the UC Berkeley School of Public Health faculty in 2012, and currently teaches a course on public health immunology. She received her BS in chemistry from Trinity University and a PhD in microbiology and immunology from the University of California, San Francisco. Prior to coming to Berkeley, she was a Helen Hay Whitney Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, Harvard Medical School Department of Microbiology and Immunology, and the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Molecular Biology.

Fourteen other researchers in the chemical and biological sciences were also named 2014 Searle Scholars. The final selection of scholars was based on recommendations made by the program’s Scientific Advisory Board consisting of 12 scientists distinguished for their research and leadership across a wide range of fields. In selecting the Scholars, the Scientific Advisory Board looked for scientists who have already demonstrated innovative research with the potential for making significant contributions to chemical and biological research over an extended period of time.

“These are difficult, stressful times for young scientists, with research funding severely limited, so it is with extra special joy that we are able to give a substantial boost to the careers of fifteen of the very best,” said Doug Fambrough, scientific director of the Searle Scholars Program.

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.

Read more about the 2014 Searle Scholars

By Linda Anderberg