BLACKSBURG, Va., August 19, 2011 – In an exciting and novel program development, VBI has awarded its very first Independence Fellowship to newly-minted Ph.D. and fungal allergen researcher, Shiv Kale.

Modeled after the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Pathway to Independence Award, VBI’s Independence Fellowship seeks out the best and brightest young researchers to jumpstart their careers, allowing them to transition to full PI status more quickly than is currently the norm for most postdoctoral students.  Noted executive cirector Harold “Skip” Garner, Ph.D.:   “In today’s competitive world, it is essential to establish ways to identify the best and brightest young scientists, and then help propel them to research prominence.  The VBI Independence Fellowship is designed to provide the support and freedom for these exceptional scientists to succeed.”

Shiv Kale, Ph.D., is the first recipient of the Independence Fellowship.  Kale has been a fixture at VBI since 2006.  Even as an undergraduate, Kale showed immense promise.  While working as an undergraduate research assistant with Brett Tyler, Ph.D., Kale developed the double-barreled gene gun. The technology facilitated the characterization of how oomycete and fungal effectors enter host cells.  Kale has also been the lead on several publications, including an article in Cell describing the mechanism of effector cell entry.  Much of this work has been funded by a prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) award which Kale received in 2009. He was named The Virginia Tech Interdisciplinary Student of the Year just prior to finishing his Ph.D., and currently holds several patents for his research, as well.

For Kale, this award enables him to jump-start his scientific career as an independent researcher with diverse mentorship from the VBI faculty at large. “I’m very grateful to receive the first VBI Independence Fellowship. The synergy amongst the institutes diverse research groups is a huge attraction to me. The Fellowship will allow me to develop my own program focused on pathogenic fungi of humans and continue my current collaborations with several VBI faculty,” Kale said.

The Independence Fellowship will be awarded to outstanding Virginia Tech Students by VBI faculty.

About the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute
The Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech is a premier bioinformatics, computational biology, and systems biology research facility that uses transdisciplinary approaches to science, combining information technology, biology, and medicine. These approaches are used to interpret and apply vast amounts of biological data generated from basic research to some of today’s key challenges in the biomedical, environmental, and agricultural sciences. With more than 240 highly trained multidisciplinary, international personnel, research at the institute involves collaboration in diverse disciplines such as mathematics, computer science, biology, plant pathology, biochemistry, systems biology, statistics, economics, synthetic biology, and medicine. The large amounts of data generated by this approach are analyzed and interpreted to create new knowledge that is disseminated to the world’s scientific, governmental, and wider communities.



Tiffany Trent

Published by Tiffany Trent, August 19, 2011