The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) announced on September 12th the selection of 15 outstanding early career scientists as HHMI Hanna Gray Fellows, including Dr. Quinton Smith, a postdoc in the Bhatia Lab.
Quinton wants to engineer stem cell-derived “mini livers” in the lab. He plans to recreate the biliary tree, an essential liver structure that secretes digestive enzymes and exports toxins. By incorporating a biliary tree into a mixture of liver-specific cell types, Smith aims to create engineered tissue that grows and responds to regeneration cues in injured mouse livers. He hopes the results will translate into new therapies for humans and offer hope for liver failure patients on the organ donation waiting list.
As part of the HHMI Hanna Gray Fellowship, these recent PhD and MD/PhD recipients will continue their training as postdoctoral fellows at 12 institutions in the U.S. They have various research interests, including developing cutting-edge microscopy techniques, engineering new biomaterials, studying parasites and host behavior, and decoding the nerve circuitry underlying the sense of touch. Each fellow will receive up to $1.4 million in funding over eight years, with mentoring and active involvement in the HHMI community.
Additional press coverage from MIT News here.