Benjamin tenOever, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Microbiology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, has been selected by the United States government for a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). The White House announced the 100 honorees on July 9 and will host them at a reception with President Barack Obama.
The highest honor bestowed by the country on young professionals in the early stages of their research careers, the award comes with $500,000 in research funding over a five year span. The Department of Defense, which nominated Dr. tenOever, will match this amount, giving him $1 million for research over five years. Dr. tenOever's lab focuses on developing novel vaccine strategies to combat influenza virus and other emerging pathogens.
"My receipt of this Presidential Award reflects the priority Mount Sinai School of Medicine places on discoveries that have immediate impact on human health," said Dr. tenOever. "This is truly one of the greatest honors bestowed upon me thus far in my career, and my work is just one of scores of translational research projects the Medical School has made possible through its commitment to breakthrough science."
In a White House press release, President Obama called the honorees "the best in our country" and said he is confident they will "help us use science and technology to lift up our nation and our world."
Nominees are chosen annually by nine Federal departments and agencies. Award selections are based on two criteria: pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science, and technology and a commitment to community service. Dr. tenOever and his team study cellular response to RNA virus infections—the genetic interactions that occur within cells attacked by virus—as well as processes that render cells resistant to infection, in the hope of reducing the global burden from such pathogens.
"The National Science and Technology Council's recognition of Dr. tenOever's work and contributions will help us further the study of viral infection," said Dennis S. Charney, M.D., the Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Dean of Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs at The Mount Sinai Medical Center. "Mount Sinai's ability to secure research funding, such as the Presidential Award, is critical to our mission of discovering tomorrow's cures today."
This is not the first time Dr. tenOever's research has earned accolades. A year ago, he was selected as a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences, an honor that acknowledges and supports promising young investigators in advancing human health. Dr. tenOever was one of 20 scientists chosen by The Pew Charitable Trusts and the University of California at San Francisco, which provide this distinction.
Dr. tenOever received a doctorate in virology from McGill University in 2004. He engaged in postdoctoral research at Harvard University from 2004 to 2007. He then joined the staff at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in the Department of Microbiology.
About The Mount Sinai Medical Center The Mount Sinai Medical Center encompasses The Mount Sinai Hospital and Mount Sinai School of Medicine. The Mount Sinai Hospital is one of the nation's oldest, largest and most-respected voluntary hospitals. Founded in 1852, Mount Sinai today is a 1,171-bed tertiary-care teaching facility that is internationally acclaimed for excellence in clinical care. Last year, nearly 50,000 people were treated at Mount Sinai as inpatients, and there were nearly 450,000 outpatient visits to the Medical Center.
Mount Sinai School of Medicine is internationally recognized as a leader in groundbreaking clinical and basic science research, as well as having an innovative approach to medical education. With a faculty of more than 3,400 in 38 clinical and basic science departments and centers, Mount Sinai ranks among the top 20 medical schools in receipt of National Institute of Health (NIH) grants. For more information, please visit www.mountsinai.org.