The Searle Scholars Program has awarded a $300,000 research grant to Richard E. (Ed) Green, assistant professor of biomolecular engineering in the Baskin School of Engineering at UC Santa Cruz. Green, who studies ancient DNA and human evolution, is one of 15 young scientists to receive the prestigious grants this year.
The Searle Scholars Program makes grants to selected universities and research centers to support the independent research of exceptional young faculty in the biomedical sciences and chemistry. The program recognizes scientists who have already demonstrated innovative research with the potential for making significant contributions to biological research over an extended period of time.
Green has helped pioneer the use of advanced sequencing technology to study ancient DNA extracted from fossil bones. As a postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, he coordinated the Neanderthal Genome Project. A paper on the Neanderthal genome published in 2010 earned him the Newcomb Cleveland Prize for the outstanding paper published in the journal Science. A subsequent paper published in December described a previously unknown group of human relatives, called "Denisovans." In addition to the Neanderthal genome and ancient DNA, Green's research interests include human evolutionary genetics and the regulation of gene expression.
"It's a great honor to receive this award, and it will be a big help in getting my research program off the ground," Green said. "I know how selective the Searle Scholars Program is, so I'm ecstatic to be selected."
Green earned a B.S. in genetics at the University of Georgia, Athens, and a Ph.D. in molecular and cell biology, with an emphasis in computational and genomic biology, at UC Berkeley. He joined the faculty of the Baskin School of Engineering at UC Santa Cruz in January 2010. He was awarded a Sloan Research Fellowship earlier this year.
The Searle Scholars Program is funded from the estates of Mr. and Mrs. John G. Searle. Mr. Searle was the president and grandson of the founder of the pharmaceutical company G.D. Searle & Company. It was Mr. Searle's wish that certain funds be used to support research in medicine, chemistry, and biological science.