Dr. Meng Wang, associate professor in the Huffington Center on Aging and the department of human and molecular genetics at Baylor College of Medicine, has been named a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Faculty Scholar, a grant awarded to outstanding young scientists and researchers who have made impressive accomplishments and have a bright future in making groundbreaking contributions.
“This award is very unique in that it supports the investigator, as opposed to a specific project, which is very exciting,” said Wang.
Totaling $1.5 million, the HHMI Faculty Scholar grant will allow Wang to continue her work studying metabolic cues in improving human longevity and lead it to new directions over the course of five years by developing new technologies.
“Meng Wang is truly outstanding and one of the best young scientists I have interacted with. Her research is at the forefront of genetics, metabolism and aging,” said Dr. Huda Zoghbi, director of the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s Hospital, Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and professor of molecular and human genetics at Baylor. “She has already demonstrated that she is a pioneer in her field, and her creativity has yielded many exciting discoveries that frame the work she hopes to accomplish under the HHMI Faculty Scholars Program.”
Wang will focus on developing new technology systems to harness chemical imaging, functional metabolomics and genomic screens for pinpointing metabolites that occur naturally and have longevity effects on human metabolic health.
“Dr. Wang is a valuable asset to Baylor and the Huffington Center on Aging. Her research is changing the paradigm on how we look at aging and human metabolism, and she is so deserving of this award,” said Dr. Hui Zheng, director of the Huffington Center on Aging at Baylor.
The Faculty Scholar award encourages the investigator to think outside of the box to develop new technologies and techniques without the restrictions of more traditional project-based grants and is designed to support any relevant idea the investigator pursues within the five-year grant period.
"Dr. Wang is one of our rising stars, and this recognition is a tribute to the transformative science she is pursuing,” said Dr. Brendan Lee, the Robert and Janice McNair Endowed Chair in Molecular and Human Genetics and professor and chair of the department of molecular and human genetics at Baylor.
“I am honored to represent Baylor through the HHMI Faculty Scholar award,” said Wang. “This is the first funding mechanism I’ve encountered as a junior faculty, and I am very appreciative of all of the support for junior faculty development I’ve received from Baylor and my wonderful colleagues.”