Pitt researchers have been awarded a portion of a $2.1 million grant for Pennsylvania universities from the Charles E. Kaufman Foundation. The foundation, established by chemical engineer and entrepreneur Charles E. Kaufman, supports fundamental scientific research in chemistry, biology and physics at institutions throughout the commonwealth.
New Initiatives Research Grants, which carry an award of $300,000 over two years, are designed to encourage investigators with strong research records to establish interdisciplinary collaborations requiring expertise beyond a single researcher. Pitt recipients Nathan Lord and Mo Ebrahimkhani will explore the elaborate language of signals used by human embryos and seek to decode the molecular language that enables embryos to control organ development in their project titled, “Spatially guided morphogenesis in human liver organoids.”
Lord is an assistant professor in the Department of Computational and Systems Biology in the School of Medicine, and Ebrahimkhani is an associate professor in the Department of Pathology and a member of the Pittsburgh Liver Research Center at the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the School of Medicine.
Tera Levin, an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, received a New Investigator Research Grant, which empowers scientists at the beginning of their career through an award of $150,000 over two years. Levin will study mechanisms of interbacterial competition in Legionella pneumophila, which can colonize plumbing systems and cause outbreaks of Legionnaire’s disease, in her project “Playing with fire: How bacteria deploy self-targeting antimicrobials during inter-bacterial battles.”
The foundation advisory board reviewed 121 inquiries from scientists at 23 colleges and universities. The latest awards will support research at the University of Pittsburgh, Bryn Mawr College, Bucknell University, Carnegie Mellon University, Drexel University, Haverford College, Pennsylvania State University, Swarthmore College, and Washington and Jefferson College.