View videos about the 2022 MBioFAR awardees’ research
SAMI BARMADA, PH.D.
Angela Dobson Welch and Lyndon Welch Research Professor and associate professor of neurology, Medical School
Barmada is a neuroscientist who combines basic biology with translational research to understand critical abnormalities in RNA and protein metabolism in neurodegenerative diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). In addition to his research, he has taken an active role in raising awareness of ALS and FTD in the community, participating in several local and national fundraising efforts and assisting in setting priorities for national research funding through NIH-sponsored panels.
JIANPING FU, PH.D.
Professor of mechanical engineering, College of Engineering; professor of biomedical engineering, College of Engineering and Medical School; and professor of cell and developmental biology, Medical School
Fu is a biomedical engineer who specializes in synthetic embryology, with a research program that bridges several disciplines, including stem cell biology, developmental biology, synthetic biology and bioengineering. His ground-breaking studies have been credited with laying the foundation for the emerging technology of artificial embryos, which was selected as one of the “10 Breakthrough Technologies of 2018” by the MIT Technology Review. This field has tremendous impacts for advancing human embryology and reproductive and regenerative medicine.
COSTAS LYSSIOTIS, PH.D.
Maisel Research Professor of Oncology, associate professor of molecular and integrative physiology, associate professor of internal medicine and director pf academic programs, Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, Medical School
Lyssiotis is a biochemist who investigates biochemical pathways and metabolic requirements that enable tumor survival and growth. This work spans the areas of cancer metabolism, the tumor microenvironment, and immunometabolism. Ultimately, his group aims to transition new information about these processes into targeted therapies for cancer and other diseases. He is also passionate about science education and training the future generation of scientists, directing U-M’s Graduate Program in Cancer Biology and serving as an active lecturer and participant in graduate education.
JAMES MOON, PH.D.
J. G. Searle Professor, professor of pharmaceutical sciences, College of Pharmacy; professor of biomedical engineering, College of Engineering and Medical School; and professor of chemical engineering, College of Engineering
Moon’s interdisciplinary research program aims to develop engineering strategies to advance fundamental understanding of the immune system, with the ultimate goal of improving patients’ lives with effective vaccines and immunotherapies. He is developing new therapeutics at the interface of pharmaceutics, biomedical engineering and immunology. His discoveries have aided drug development in the fields of cancer immunology, autoimmunity and gut microbiome.
ALISON NARAYAN, PH.D.
Mary Sue Coleman Collegiate Professor in the Life Sciences, research associate professor, life sciences institute; and associate professor of chemistry, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts
Narayan is a chemist who first came to U-M as an undergrad in the College of Literature, Science, and Arts. After earning her Ph.D., she returned to U-M first as a postdoctoral researcher and then as a faculty member in LSA and the Life Sciences Institute. Her research program solves synthetic chemistry challenges using enzymes. This approach not only provides a sustainable alternative to traditional organic chemistry methods, but also enables access to molecules that might otherwise be inaccessible in the laboratory. Narayan contributes to recruiting and mentoring the next generation of leaders and best through her teaching efforts at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, mentoring students in her lab, and directing U-M’s Graduate Program in Chemical Biology.
ELIZABETH SPELIOTES, M.D., PH.D., M.P.H.,
Keith S Henley M.D. Collegiate Professor of Gastroenterology, professor of internal medicine, professor of computational medicine and bioinformatics, associate director, Medical Scientist Training Program and program director, Precision Medicine Program, Medical School
Speliotes is a gastroenterologist and bioinformation who researches the molecular action of gene variants associated with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and their implications in obesity and NAFLD. As the director of Precision Medicine for Internal Medicine, she is building biobank and resources to use genomic and electronic medical record data for subtyping human diseases and matching them to specific treatments. Speliotes is an internationally known leader in the genetics of human obesity of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. She founded and leads global consortia efforts that have identified and characterized hundreds of common genetic variants that associate with obesity, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and other metabolic diseases and traits using genome-wide association study meta-analysis.