The Hartwell Foundation


2019 Hartwell Individual Biomedical Research Awards

Memphis, TN, April 01, 2020 - The Hartwell FoundationTM officially announced today the recipients of the 2019 Hartwell Individual Biomedical Research Awards. Each Award provides support for three years at $100,000 direct cost per year. Twelve individuals representing eleven institutions received recognition as Hartwell Investigators:

  • Ingo Helbig, MD, Assistant Professor Neurology, University of Pennsylvania for "Delineating Subgroups and Outcomes in Neurodevelopmental Disorders through Computational Phenotypes."
  • Lindsay A. Schwarz, Ph.D., Assistant Member Developmental Neurobiology, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital for "Regulating Tumor Growth in the Brainstem Microenvironment of Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma."
  • Lucas R. Smith, Ph.D., Assistant Professor Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior, University of California, Davis for "Mechanisms of Contracture in Cerebral Palsy: Tissue Architecture and Stem Cell Mechanobiology ."
  • Molly K. McVoy, MD, Assistant Professor Psychiatry, Case Western Reserve University for "Adolescent Depression: Illness Severity and Treatment Effects in Digitally Acquired Brain Electrical Activity."
  • Neeraj K. Surana, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor Pediatrics, Duke University for "Developing Bacteria-Derived Therapies to Cure Inflammatory Bowel Disease."
  • Peter E. Zage, MD, Ph.D., Associate Professor-in-Residence Pediatrics, University California, San Diego for "Targeting Expression of an Enzyme Essential for Prevention of Neuroblastoma Growth and Metastasis ."
  • Rebecca Schulman, Ph.D., Associate Professor Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Johns Hopkins University for "Engineered Cardiac-Tissue Patches: Correcting Arrhythmia in Beating Heart Cells with DNA Nanotubes."
  • Richard W. Pierce, MD, Assistant Professor Pediatrics, Yale University for "Unbiased Cellular Response Profiling of Viral-Induced Lung Injury: Catalyzing Therapeutics and Diagnostic Assays."
  • Robert C. Orchard, Ph.D., Assistant Professor Immunology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center for "Defining How an Emerging Polio-like Virus Causes Neurological Complications."
  • Soojung Claire Hur, Ph.D., Assistant Professor Mechanical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University for a "Microfluidic Platform to Isolate and Load Exosomes with Therapeutic Molecules."
  • Amanda M. Saratsis, MD, Assistant Professor Neurological Surgery, Northwestern University for "Epigenetic Signatures as Novel Biomarkers for Targeted Brain Cancer Treatment."

The 2019 award-winning proposals represent innovative and cutting-edge technology representing Medicine and Biomedical Engineering, in research areas that include Cancer, Medical Devices, Medical Diagnostics, Molecular Biology, Neurobiology, Physiology, and Infectious Disease. The Hartwell Foundation is pleased to provide financial support to these exceptional scientists who are pursuing biomedical research to advance children's health.

Each year The Hartwell Foundation invites a limited number of institutions in the United States to hold an internal open competition to nominate candidates from their faculty who are involved in early-stage, innovative, and cutting-edge biomedical research that has not yet qualified for significant funding from outside sources and with the potential to benefit children of the United States. In the 2019 competition, 16 institutions participated in the competition and 11 researchers from ten different institutions received a Hartwell Individual Biomedical Research Award. Notably, Johns Hopkins received two Individual Awards.

"The 2019 competition was once again very competitive, with diversity in strategic innovation and translational research that offers the potential to impact directly healthcare outcomes to benefit children. Nominees who received an award leveraged internal support and guidance from their participating institution, as well as the experience of previous Hartwell Investigators," said Fred Dombrose, President of The Hartwell Foundation.

While significant early-stage funding benefits the individual researcher, participating Hartwell institutions also receive recognition in the form of a Hartwell Fellowship. For each Nominee selected for an Individual Biomedical Research Award the sponsoring participating institution receives one Hartwell Fellowship that they are asked to designate to a qualified postdoctoral researcher in the early stage of their career. Each Fellowship provides support for two years at $50,000 direct cost per year to enable specialized training in biomedical research.

"The Hartwell Foundation seeks to inspire innovation and achievement by offering individual researchers an opportunity to realize their professional goals. Our approach is to be unique, selective, thorough and accountable. We provide an opportunity for those we support to make a difference and to realize their hopes and dreams," said Fred Dombrose, President of The Hartwell Foundation.

In selecting awardees, the Foundation takes into account the compelling and transformative nature of the proposed innovation, the extent to which a strategic or translational approach might accelerate the clinical application of research results to benefit children of the United States, the extent of collaboration in the proposed research, the institutional commitment to provide encouragement and technical support to the investigator, and the extent to which funding the investigator will make a difference.


2019 Hartwell Investigator Molly McVoy, MD, Case Western Reserve University

2019 Hartwell Investigator Molly McVoy, MD, Case Western Reserve University

2019 Hartwell Investigator Soojung Claire Hur, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University

2019 Hartwell Investigator Soojung Claire Hur, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University

Individual Biomedical
Research Awards

Top Ten Centers