The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) announced their list of 13 Senior International Research Scholar (SIRS) award recipients who will receive a total of $6.5 million to continue their work based on their previous contributions to "research in the biological sciences." (See HHMI: Grants for Science Education). The first round of SIRS awards come from countries ranging from Canada to South Africa, and they study immune response, parasitic diseases, and a slew of various sub-fields in genetics.
SIRS award recipient Freda Miller, a Ph.D. at University of Toronto, studies the way in which pathological conditions influence neural connections and the role and responsibility stem cells play in adult tissue as it develops.
Another recipient, a Ph.D. at University of British Columbia by the name of Natalie Strynadka, studies the membrane protein assemblies of antibiotic resistance systems in cells. The end goal of Strynadka's research is to design new types of vaccinations and antibiotic treatment.
The HHMI International Program, one of the more recent additions to the Institute's list of charitable projects, was introduced for the purpose of bolstering the Institute's "long-standing effort to support the research of international scientists," which began in 1991 when they introduced the International Research Scholars Program. In 2012, they expanded the projects with the International Early Career Scientist Program.
The money provided by the Institute only represents a portion of what HHMI does. As HHMI Vice President Jack E. Dixon explains, grant recipients become integral parts of the organization's network and are encouraged to meet and connect with other involved researchers at HHMI.
Looking at HHMI's other large expenditures over the past few months, they seem to have taken an interest in recently graduated international researchers in the sciences and those currently attending graduate school. Earlier this month, they awarded two grants, $90,000 a piece for three years, through their Interfaces Initiative for Interdisciplinary Graduate Research Training program. Around the same time, a total of more than $2 million went into 50 fellowships for students currently in the process of finishing their doctoral dissertations. (Read HHMI president Robert Tjian's IP profile).