NIH Pathway to Independence Award
Postdoctoral researcher Meghan Driscoll has been awarded a Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00) from the National Institutes of Health. The grant is designed to facilitate the transition of outstanding researchers from mentored, postdoctoral research positions to independent, tenure-track or equivalent faculty positions. The award will provide over $900,000 over a five-year period to support Driscoll's research program that focuses on how cells migrate through and interact with complex 3D environments.
Driscoll has devoted her research efforts to developing computational tools that allow scientists to overcome the technical challenges associated with quantitative analysis of 3D cellular processes. Cell migration is critical to many physiological and pathological processes, including embryogenesis, wound healing, immune function, and cancer metastasis. The Pathway to Independence Award will allow Driscoll to further develop and use light-sheet microscopy techniques to quantify cell migration in 3D collagen matrices. Breakthroughs in this field require the synthesis of knowledge and techniques from several academic disciplines. Driscoll's highly interdisciplinary background, and current research environment, includes close collaborations with physicists, applied mathematicians, electrical engineers, chemists, computer scientists and cell biologists. This has allowed Driscoll to develop a unique combination of skills as a physicist with mathematical talent and with deep understanding of the biological processes, that have equipped her to become a pioneer in the new 3D cell biology era.