Congratulations to Erin Goley, Zhaozhu Qiu, Shigeki Watanabe and Bin Wu on being the first recipients of the Randall J. Reed Scholars award. This award recognizes the research excellence and accomplishments of outstanding primary early and midcareer faculty in the nine basic science departments in the School of Medicine. The awards are named for Dr. Randall Reed, professor emeritus in the department of molecular biology and genetics, whose research focused on olfactory systems. Funds for the awards were generously secured by Dr. Ted DeWeese, interim dean of the medical faculty and CEO, Johns Hopkins Medicine, in close consultation with Ron Daniels, president of The Johns Hopkins University.
Chosen by a panel of nine departmental representatives, the awardees will each receive $100,000 per year for three years to fund research in their laboratories. The next call for applications, which will henceforth select up to three candidates per cycle, is expected to be held in 2026.
Dr. Qiu, a 2020 Sloan Research Fellow, studies ion channels that conduct chloride, the only major negatively charged ion in the body. Dysfunction of chloride channels causes a variety of human diseases, including cystic fibrosis. He is studying the molecular basis and biology of some of these mysterious channels with the ultimate goal of developing drugs targeting them. Qiu has identified a new chloride channel that regulates cell volume and another that senses acidic pH. He was named a McKnight Scholar, awarded a Klingenstein-Simons Fellowship in Neuroscience, and received JHU Catalyst Award and Lee Hood Prize in Biomedical Science.
Dr. Goley’s lab uses genetics, genomics, imaging, biochemistry and in vitro reconstitution to study the fundamental mechanisms that enable bacteria to grow, divide and adapt to the environment. Among recent findings, the Goley lab identified a new pathway involving osmoregulated polysaccharides that helps regulate homeostasis of the cell envelope and facilitates bacterial resistance to certain antibiotics. Goley was named a fellow of the American Society for Cell Biology and is a member of the American Society for Microbiology. She received an Innovation Award from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Discovery Fund and was the recipient of the 2020 Lee Hood Prize in Biomedical Science.
Dr. Watanabe’s lab focuses on synaptic transmission and plasticity. His team pioneered an approach to capturing membrane dynamics by using a flash and freeze method that creates a kind of “flip book” at millisecond intervals. He has also discovered a new, ultrafast endocytic pathway. Watanabe was named a Sloan Research Fellow in 2018, a McKnight Scholar in 2019, a Chan Zuckerberg Initiative grantee to study neurodegenerative diseases, and is a recipient of the Johns Hopkins Catalyst Award.
Dr. Wu, a Pew Award and Johns Hopkins Catalyst Award winner, focuses research in his laboratory on using single molecule imaging and spectroscopy technology in live cells, combined with theoretical modeling, to visualize and quantify biological events as they happen in real time. Currently, his team is working on tracking the transcription, movement, translation and decay of single RNA molecules and has been developing and using light-activated tools to rapidly cut DNA and RNA in live cells and visualize the cellular responses. Wu also runs the annual Fun with Science Camp for 5th and 6th grade students in Baltimore City schools.