Memorial Sloan Kettering developmental biologist Lorenz Studer has been named a 2015 MacArthur Fellow by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Known as the “genius grants,” the awards are given to people in a variety of fields who have shown exceptional originality in and dedication to their creative pursuits.
Dr. Studer investigates human stem cells as tools that can be used to understand development in the nervous system and to develop strategies to treat degenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s and ALS, as well as cancer. One major focus of his lab is devoted to harnessing and manipulating the potential of human pluripotent stem cells, which have the ability to form any type of cell in the body. He is also the founding head of MSK’s Center for Stem Cell Biology.
As part of his award, Dr. Studer will receive a $625,000 stipend over five years. MacArthur Fellows are nominated anonymously by leaders in their respective fields, considered by an anonymous selection committee, and given the cash award to spend however they see fit.
This year’s 24 winners include a neuroscientist, a choreographer, an economist, and an environmental engineer, among others.