Jochen Zimmer, PhD, professor of molecular physiology and biomedical physics at the School of Medicine, has been named an Investigator by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), the largest private biomedical research institution in the nation. Researchers who achieve this honor — considered among the highest a biomedical scientist can achieve — have the potential to radically change how we think about biology, human health and diseases.
Zimmer is one of 33 scientists from across the country selected for the honor from more than 800 applicants. He is only the second HHMI investigator from UVA and the first in more than two decades.
Recognition from HHMI is significant because of its philosophy to fund “people, not projects.” Each new investigator will receive roughly $9 million over a seven-year term, which is renewable pending a successful scientific review. By not having a particular project funded, Zimmer will have the freedom and flexibility to pursue whatever research projects he wishes in a manner of his choosing.
Zimmer’s research interests include the transport of biopolymers across biological membranes. His work to understand how cells work may one day help scientists develop new biomaterials for medicines, food and energy — potentially offering solutions to combat disease, fight hunger and reduce the effects of climate change.
For the latest updates on UVA research efforts, visit The Making of Medicine.