Newswise — PHILADELPHIA—(October 5, 2017)—The Wistar Institute, an international leader in biomedical research in the fields of cancer, immunology and infectious diseases, announces Kavitha Sarma, Ph.D., assistant professor in Wistar’s Gene Expression and Regulation Program, has been awarded the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director’s New Innovator Award (DP2) for her research on “Epigenetic regulation through the formation and resolution of R loops.”

“I continually point to this program as an example of the creative and revolutionary research NIH supports,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. “The quality of the investigators and the impact their research has on the biomedical field is extraordinary.”

This $1.5 million award, given over five years, is part of the Common Fund’s investment in dynamic, high-caliber research from a talented, early stage investigator. These funds will further Sarma’s research efforts to understand chromatin based mechanisms of neurodegeneration and identify new therapeutic targets in these diseases.

“The New Innovator Award is ideal for Kavitha, an expert in the field of chromatin biology and epigenetics,” said Dario C. Altieri, M.D., President and CEO of The Wistar Institute, director of the Wistar Cancer Center and the Robert and Penny Fox Distinguished Professor. “Kavitha is a highly creative scientist, and the support from this award will open unique opportunities to further our understanding of chromatin structures in neurodegeneration and cancer.”

The NIH DP2 Award initiative supports a small number of early stage investigators of exceptional creativity who propose bold and highly innovative new research approaches that have the potential to produce a major impact on broad, important problems in biomedical and behavioral research. The NIH Director’s New Innovator Award initiative is a component of the High Risk - High Reward Research Program of the NIH Common Fund and complements ongoing efforts by NIH and its Institutes and Centers to fund early stage investigators.



The Wistar Institute is an international leader in biomedical research with special expertise in cancer research and vaccine development. Founded in 1892 as the first independent nonprofit biomedical research institute in the country, Wistar has held the prestigious Cancer Center designation from the National Cancer Institute since 1972. The Institute works actively to ensure that research advances move from the laboratory to the clinic as quickly as possible.