The Committee consists of leading scientists and clinicians from outstanding research institutions. Drawing on their collective experiences in medical discovery and development, members of the Committee provide guidance for the Rita Allen Foundation Scholars program, which awards multiyear grants to early-career scientists conducting basic biomedical research in cancer, immunology, neuroscience and pain.
“We are pleased to welcome Susan to the Committee, and look forward to her contributions as an accomplished scientist and a champion for young investigators,” said Elizabeth Good Christopherson, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Rita Allen Foundation.
Dymecki joined the faculty of Harvard Medical School in 1998, and was named a Rita Allen Foundation Scholar in 1999. Her lab has pioneered the use of genetic tools to study the molecular identities, functions, connectivity and origins of different neuron types in the mammalian brain. Dymecki’s research has helped to elucidate the development of the brain’s serotonergic system, bringing insight into serotonin involvement in such diverse disorders as sudden infant death syndrome and depression. Her honors include the HMS Morgan-Zinsser Teaching Faculty Fellowship Award and the Gulf Oil Outstanding Achievement in Biomedical Science Award. She is the Program Head of Harvard’s Biological and Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. Program, and has received mentoring awards from this program and from the HMS Office for Diversity Inclusion and Community Partnership.
Dymecki said, “I look forward to giving back to the Rita Allen Foundation in its mission to ignite and enable pioneering basic biomedical research. It is needed now more than ever.” As she told the Rita Allen Foundation last year, “One of the best parts of my job is working with the young trainees who will be the next generation of scientists shaping our world.” The Foundation’s 2016 profile of Dymecki includes more reflections on her career—including an early passion, ice dancing—and on the future of transgenic techniques in neuroscience.
The Rita Allen Foundation invests in transformative ideas in their earliest stages to leverage their growth and promote breakthrough solutions to significant problems. It enables early-career biomedical scholars to do pioneering research, seeds innovative approaches to fostering informed civic engagement, and develops knowledge and networks to build the effectiveness of the philanthropic sector. Throughout its work, the Foundation embraces collaboration, creativity, learning and leadership.