The 2011 Pew Scholars will join a select community that includes MacArthur Fellows, recipients of the Albert Lasker Medical Research Award and three Nobel Prize winners. Research by the new class of Scholars is related to many human diseases ranging from Alzheimer’s to diabetes to ocular degeneration. The program encourages early-career scientists to advance research that leads to important medical breakthroughs and treatments.
“Pew is pleased to provide this country’s most ambitious and dedicated scientists with timely funding that enables them to explore novel areas of investigation early in their careers, at what may be the most inventive and creative period in their research,” said Rebecca W. Rimel, president and CEO of The Pew Charitable Trusts.
The program has invested more than $125 million to fund over 500 scholars. Recipients receive $240,000 over four years to pursue their research without restriction. Applicants are nominated by an invited institution and demonstrate both excellence and innovation in their research. This year, 175 institutions were requested to nominate a candidate and 136 eligible nominations were received.
Richardson is the tenth UNC scientist to be granted this honor, and the only bacteriologist among this year's awardees.
Research in his laboratory is primarily focused on understanding the role of bacterial physiology in the pathogenesis of gram-positive bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus. S. aureus is frequently isolated as the source cutaneous infections as well as more invasive soft tissue infections, surgical site infections, bacteremia, endocarditis, osteomyelitis, pyelonephritis, meningitis, septic arthritis, and necrotizing pneumonia.