Deblina Sarkar, assistant professor at MIT and AT&T Career Development Chair Professor at MIT Media Lab, received the highly prestigious R00 award from the National Institute of General Medical Science (NIGMS) of the National Institute of Health.
The NIH K99/R00 program, also known as the Pathway to Independence Award, is designed to pave the way for outstanding researchers to transition from the mentored phase to independent tenure-track faculty positions. The purpose of this program is to create a strong cohort of new and talented, NIH-supported, independent scientists. It is highly competitive and approximately 15% of the proposals to NIGMS are typically funded.
This award will support the scientific endeavors of Sarkar’s Nano-Cybernetic Biotrek (NCB) lab, which she founded in 2019. NCB is a transdisciplinary research lab, fusing engineering, applied physics, and biology with two main research thrusts:
- To develop disruptive technologies for ultra-low-power nanoelectronic computers; and,
- To merge such next-generation technologies with living matter to create new paradigms for life-machine symbiosis in order to transform health care.
Specifically, the R00 grant will fund NCB’s research on mapping the brain; this will enable not only deciphering the brain’s biomolecular building blocks, but also unprecedented integration of nanotransistors into the brain. This research can lead to fundamental insights into the rules of neuronal information processing.