The Vallee Foundation has named Francis Crick Institute group leader, Pontus Skoglund, as one of its Vallee Award Scholars for 2020.
The foundation was set up in 1996 with the aim of fostering originality, creativity and leadership in biomedical science research and medical education. Its Vallee Scholar Awards Programme recognises outstanding early career scientists.
Researchers are selected based on the originality and innovation of their work, the quality of their proposal and their record of accomplishment.
Pontus Skoglund, who leads the Crick’s Ancient Genomics laboratory, is one of only six researchers worldwide who received scholar awards from the foundation this year. Each new scholar will receive $300,000 over four years for their biomedical research.
Pontus joined the Crick in 2017 from Harvard Medical School. His team uses genomics, extracting and analysing DNA from ancient skeletal material to study evolution at key periods in human history.
By looking at how human populations and pathogens have co-evolved over hundreds of years, they are aiming to better understand how past epidemics and pandemics have affected our immunity and susceptibility to infectious diseases.
“It is a great honour to be one of this year’s Vallee Scholars”, says Pontus. “I am looking forward to interacting with the community of other scholars for the next four years, and for our lab to use the funding from the award to study how diseases in the past affected human populations and biology.”