The Burroughs Wellcome Fund (BWF) has named Joshua B. Plotkin, a junior fellow of the Society of Fellows, as one of the 11 recipients for its Career Awards at the Scientific Interface (CASI). These awards encourage research at the interface between the physical/computational sciences and the biological sciences, recognizing the vital role cross-trained scientists play in furthering biomedical research. Plotkin received the award for his research on novel methods to compute selection pressures on proteins at the genomewide scale.

BWF launched the program in 2002 and has made a total of 26 awards – an investment of approximately $13 million in the careers of investigators with backgrounds in the physical/computational sciences whose work addresses biological questions.

The new CASI awardees are working in areas ranging from deciphering how biological information is coded in DNA to exploring the neural mechanisms that underlie learned behavior such as human speech, making discoveries that will contribute to advances in human health and well-being.

This year, BWF has awarded a total of almost $5.4 million to foster the development and productivity of these promising postdoctoral researchers early in their careers and help them make the critical transition to becoming independent investigators.

CASI provides $500,000 over five years to bridge advanced postdoctoral training and the early years of faculty service. All faculty positions must be taken at U.S. or Canadian degree-granting institutions.

“Unlike most programs offered by government and other private organizations, which typically provide a year or two of postdoctoral training or beginning faculty support, these longer-lasting awards provide the freedom and funding security that will enable new investigators to develop innovative and independent research programs during a critical time in their careers,” said BWF president Enriqueta C. Bond. “We expect that by the end of their awards, our awardees will be engaged in productive research programs and will be able to compete effectively for support from government and other extramural sources.”