SEATTLE Harmit Singh Malik, Ph.D., an evolutionary geneticist at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center who studies genetic conflict the competition between genes and proteins with opposing functions that drives evolutionary change has been selected to become a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. He is among 27 of the nation's top biomedical scientists to receive the honor this year out of a pool of more than 1,100 applicants.
"HHMI has a very simple mission," said HHMI President Robert Tjian. "We find the best original-thinking scientists and give them the resources to follow their instincts in discovering basic biological processes that may one day lead to better medical outcomes." HHMI investigators have the freedom to explore and, if necessary, to change direction in their research. They also have support to follow their ideas through to fruition, even if that process takes many years.
Malik's initial five-year appointment as an HHMI investigator, which will begin in September, comes with a salary, benefits and a research budget. The Institute also will cover additional expenses, including research space and the purchase of critical equipment. The appointment may be renewed for additional five-year terms, each contingent upon a successful scientific review.
Malik, a member of the Fred Hutch Basic Sciences Division, has been an HHMI Early Career Scientist since 2009. His research harnesses the tools of biochemistry and genomics to chronicle the endless "genetic arms race" not just between organisms and pathogens but also within an individual species' genome.
"Harmit thinks creatively and fearlessly about his research. It is not that Harmit thinks outside of the box. It's that he does not even recognize the existence of boxes," said Mark Groudine, M.D., Ph.D., senior vice president and deputy director of Fred Hutch and a member of the Center's Basic Sciences Division.
Studying model organisms such as fruit
|Contact: Kristen Woodward|
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center