Columbia Biologist Receives NIH Director’s New Innovator Award

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded Raju Tomer, assistant professor of biological sciences, an NIH Director’s New Innovator Award from the NIH Common Fund’s High-Risk, High-Reward Research program.

The New Innovator Award, established in 2007, supports unusually innovative research from early career investigators who are within 10 years of their final degree or clinical residency and have not yet received a research project grant or equivalent NIH grant.

“I am very grateful to the NIH for this important recognition and support for our research. This award will help us continue to take on risky projects in pushing the boundaries of our knowledge of how our brain works, and understand what goes wrong in various brain disorders,” said Tomer, whose lab develops and applies molecular, optical, and data analytic methods for multi-scale understanding of complex neural systems. His research centers around the development of novel technologies required for cellular-resolution whole-brain mapping and functional analysis of normal and diseased states.

The NIH Common Fund supports a series of exceptionally high-impact programs that cross NIH Institutes and Centers. Common Fund programs pursue major opportunities and gaps in biomedical research that require trans-NIH collaboration to succeed. The awards were created to support unconventional approaches to major challenges in biomedical and behavioral research.

This year, the fund will support 89 awards — including 58 New Innovator Awards — totaling approximately $282 million over five years, pending available funds.

Read the NIH’s press release here. Learn about the Common Fund here.

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