Contact: Alexander Shtifman
Phone: 617-713-8989
alex...@childrens.harvard.edu

Text adapted from The Pew Charitable Trusts press release

The Pew Charitable Trusts today (June 17, 2010) named Sun Hur, Ph.D., as a 2010 Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences. The program enables scientists to take calculated risks, expand their research and explore unanticipated leads. Scholars receive $240,000 over four years and gain inclusion into a select community of scientists that includes three Nobel Prize winners, three MacArthur Fellows and two recipients of the Albert Lasker Medical Research Award. Others previously selected as Pew Scholars from the Immune Disease Institute include Drs. Judy Lieberman and Michael Carroll.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the program has invested more than $125 million to fund close to 500 scholars. Many of the nation's best early-career scientists-working in all areas of physical and life sciences related to biomedical research-apply to the rigorously competitive program. Applicants are nominated by one of 155 invited institutions and demonstrate excellence and innovation in their research.  Sun Hur was nominated by Harvard Medical School.

"Twenty-five years ago, The Pew Charitable Trusts identified a tremendous opportunity to impact the world of science by supporting the most promising young investigators and encouraging them to pursue their best ideas without restrictions," said Rebecca W. Rimel, president and CEO of The Pew Charitable Trusts. "Motivating scientists at this point in their careers is essential to advancing discovery and innovation, and Pew is honored to continue its commitment to this cadre of high-quality researchers."

Sun Hur, Ph.D., completed her doctoral work in physical chemistry with Professor Thomas Bruice in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She then did her postdoctoral work in structural biology with Dr. Robert Stroud at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Hur accepted her present position as assistant professor and junior investigator at the Immune Disease Institute at Harvard Medical School. Her research focuses on how our immune system detects viruses. She studies how ribonucleic acids (RNAs) made by our own cells are protected by our immune system, while viral RNAs, those made by viruses, are attacked by our immune system. Both types of RNA are made of the same four molecules. Dr. Hur will use a combination of structural and biochemical techniques with computational modeling to investigate how our immune systems distinguish between these two types of RNA. Her work will lend insight on how to prevent autoimmune or inflammatory diseases such as type I diabetes, arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.

For full biographies and information regarding the whole group of new scholars and their research, please visit www.pewscholars.org.

The Pew Charitable Trusts (www.pewtrusts.org) is driven by the power of knowledge to solve today's most challenging problems.  Pew applies a rigorous, analytical approach to improve public policy, inform the public and stimulate civic life.  We partner with a diverse range of donors, public and private organizations and concerned citizens who share our commitment to fact-based solutions and goal-driven investments to improve society.