Biologist awarded Human Frontier Science Program grant

Daniela Cimini

Daniela Cimini

BLACKSBURG, Va., July 13, 2010 – A biologist is the first researcher from Virginia Tech to be awarded a collaborative international grant from the Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP).

Daniela Cimini assistant professor of biological sciences in the College of Science and two colleagues from universities in Austria and Germany will divide the $1.05 million three-year grant. HFSP is a prestigious international funding agency that supports innovative and interdisciplinary basic research focused on the complex mechanisms of living organisms.

Cimini has a growing international reputation in the study of chromosome structure and mechanics, the molecular controls over cell division, and the relationships between errors in cell division and many human diseases, including cancer. She will team with Juraj Gregan from the University of Vienna, Austria, and Iva Tolic-Norrelykke from the Max Plank Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Germany.

“I was surprised to discover that I was the first researcher ever to be awarded an HFSP at Virginia Tech, but at the same time, I felt really honored to be in such a position,” Cimini said. “My team includes a biophysicist, which will add another perspective to my research. The internationality of the team will give my research visibility outside the U.S. and possibly open doors for future collaborations.”

HFSP awarded grants to 34 international teams this year.

“Daniela’s rapidly growing success in research results from a clever combination of classic genetic and molecular biology approaches with new imaging technologies for studying the behavior of living cells,” said Robert Jones, professor and chair of the department.

Cimini earned her bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. in molecular and cellular biology from the University of Rome La Sapienza. She joined the Virginia Tech faculty in 2005.

The College of Science at Virginia Tech gives students a comprehensive foundation in the scientific method. Outstanding faculty members teach courses and conduct research in biological sciences, chemistry, economics, geosciences, mathematics, physics, psychology, and statistics. The college offers programs in cutting-edge areas including, among others, those in energy and the environment, developmental science across the lifespan, infectious diseases, computational science, nanoscience, and neuroscience. The College of Science is dedicated to fostering a research-intensive environment that promotes scientific inquiry and outreach.