A nutritionist, a civil engineer, an epidemiologist, a macroeconomist, a pathologist, and a public health policy expert walk into a museum.
What could be the start of a bad joke is actually one of 24 faculty teams celebrated Tuesday night at the Baltimore Museum of Art for receiving a 2016 Johns Hopkins Discovery Award. Bringing together their seemingly disparate expertise from six of the university's divisions, these team members will create a framework for countries around the world to develop and implement policies toward more-sustainable food animal production models that lower the use of antibiotics, thus curbing the global threat of antimicrobial resistance.
Thirty-four early career faculty members selected to receive Johns Hopkins Catalyst Awards were also recognized by President Ronald J. Daniels, Provost Sunil Kumar, and other university leaders. Ranging from anthropologists to cosmologists to cardiologists, these scholars represent some of the most creative thinkers from across Johns Hopkins.
Addressing the awardees embarking on their ambitious new projects, Daniels affirmed that he could already envision the impact they would make.
Together, the Catalyst and Discovery awards constitute a $15 million commitment to support faculty research over three years. Daniels noted that the establishment of the awards—which are peerless in size and breadth—marked a unique moment in Hopkins history. In the spirit of creating One University, the deans united to fund these unprecedented institutionwide awards, acknowledging that the university could play a key role in encouraging faculty—individually and as teams—to pursue previously unexplored questions with the potential to change disciplines and lives.
Newly appointed as provost, Kumar said that the awards celebration was the "perfect event" for delivering his inaugural remarks, as the awards represent some of his primary duties of supporting faculty, facilitating their creation of new knowledge, and fostering collaboration.
He added that he was grateful to Vice Provost for Research Denis Wirtz and his team for their "expert guidance and organization of this program," and that he was "proud to join a university that values the importance of making meaningful investments toward cross-cutting research and improving the lives of everyone around us."
Echoing the success of the first round of investments, awarded in 2015, Daniels pointed to the great accomplishments of the inaugural cohort.
Among a list of notable accomplishments in the event program, Catalyst awardee Jordan Green received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, and one of the Discovery teams is now in the final round of the Wellcome Trust's Our Planet, Our Health £10M competition. Additionally, biologist Xin Chen was named a 2016 National Finalist for the Blavatnik National Award for Young Scientists in Life Sciences and was named an inaugural HHMI Faculty Scholar by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Simons Foundation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.