Janelle Ayres of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies has been named by the Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists as one of 31 US national finalists for the world’s largest unrestricted prizes for early career scientists. Every year, three Blavatnik National Laureates in the categories of life sciences, chemistry, and physical sciences & engineering are awarded $250,000 each.
The Blavatnik national finalists were selected from 286 outstanding faculty-rank researchers nominated by 146 institutions across 42 states. These institutions comprise the nation’s leading academic and research centers, and each is requested to name their single most promising candidate in one or all of the three categories.
Spearheaded by the Blavatnik Family Foundation and administered by the New York Academy of Sciences, the Blavatnik National Awards recognize both the past accomplishments and the future promise of the most talented scientific and engineering researchers aged 42 years and younger at America’s top academic and research institutions. The three 2018 National Laureates will be announced on June 27, 2018.
Working at the intersection of immunology and microbiology, Ayres’ pioneering research on host-pathogen interactions is redefining our understanding of health. Ayres’ discovery that microbes have evolved mechanisms to promote the health of the host to support their own survival reveals a beneficial role for microbes in maintenance of host health. Promoting host “tolerance” of microbes may offer a novel therapeutic approach to treating infections that is not reliant on antibiotics.
Ayres is associate professor at the NOMIS Center for Immunobiology and Microbial Pathogenesis and the Helen McLoraine Developmental Chair at the Salk Institute. Located in La Jolla, California, Salk is an independent, not-for-profit organization dedicated to basic research in the biological sciences — and is one of the foremost institutions of its kind in the world.