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Wistar’s Dr. Amelia Escolano Earns NIH Director’s New Innovator Award

PHILADELPHIA — (OCTOBER 4, 2022) — The National Institutes of Health has awarded Amelia Escolano, Ph.D., assistant professor in The Wistar Institute’s Vaccine & Immunotherapy Center, the 2022 NIH Director’s New Innovator Award. The honor provides Escolano with a $1.5 million grant given in two parts over a total of five years. The prestigious New Innovator Award recognizes exceptionally innovative, early career scientists proposing high-impact research with unconventional approaches to major biomedical and behavioral research challenges.

Escolano completed her scientific training in Spain, Finland, and the United States. She was recruited to Wistar in 2021 and has since focused her research on identifying guidelines for the design of vaccines that will induce long term protection against viruses that mutate frequently in humans such as HIV, influenza, and potentially future variants of SARS-CoV2. With the award, Escolano intends to expand her work on designing universal vaccines by assessing novel sequential immunization strategies, developing broadly effective antibodies, and tracking immune cell interactions upon repeated vaccination.

“It is an honor to be recognized for the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award. I am grateful to the NIH and excited that this opportunity will accelerate my work in innovative vaccine design to address some of the world’s most pressing health challenges,” Escolano shares.

As a recipient of the 2022 NIH New Innovator Award, Escolano was also invited to attend the High-Risk, High-Reward Research Symposium in summer of 2023. The NIH makes approximately 100 NIH Director’s awards each year depending on the availability of funds, including the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award, the NIH Director’s Transformative Research Award, the NIH Director’s Early Independence Award and NIH Director’s New Innovator Award. These awards are funded and administered by the Office of the Director and 27 Institutes and Centers across the National Institutes of Health. Escolano was also named a 2022 Pew Scholar this summer in support of her breakthrough research.

Dario C. Altieri, M.D., Wistar president & CEO, director of the Ellen and Ronald Caplan Cancer Center, and the Robert and Penny Fox Distinguished Professor said, “Wistar science is a leading force in developing biomedical solutions of the future, and Amelia’s work is testament to some of our most transformative research projects toward vaccines and immunotherapies. We are extremely proud of her for this prestigious recognition.”

Grant Information: DP2AI175470


The Wistar Institute marshals the talents of an international team of outstanding scientists through a highly enabled culture of biomedical collaboration and innovation, to solve some of the world’s most challenging and important problems in the field of cancer, immunology, and infectious diseases, and produce groundbreaking advances in world health. Consistent with a pioneering legacy of leadership in not-for-profit biomedical research and a track record of life-saving contributions in immunology and cell biology, Wistar scientists pursue novel and courageous research paths to life science discovery, and to accelerate the impact of early-stage discoveries by shortening the path from bench to bedside.

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