The faculty members are among 81 recipients of the 2012 NIH Director's Pioneer Awards, New Innovator Awards and Transformative Research Awards. This year's total funding, from the NIH Common Fund and multiple NIH institutes and centers, is approximately $155 million.
Brunet will explore data from her lab suggesting that changes to chromatin -- which helps package the DNA in the nucleus -- could influence not only the life span of an individual organism, but also that of its descendants.
"We feel this research has potential to revolutionize our understanding of complex diseases, in particular age-dependent disorders such cardiovascular diseases, type-2 diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer's disease," said Brunet, who is also a member of the Stanford Cancer Institute.
Other projects include examining the role of defective neurons play in the progress of neurodegenerative diseases, studying the genetic underpinnings of dengue virus infection and testing the use of synthetic biology platforms and biosynthesis strategies to significantly advance natural-product drugs.