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Dr. Michelle Digman named the new Allen Distinguished Investigator

CMCF center faculty, Dr. Michelle Digman , and Dr. Jennifer Prescher received the Allen Distinguished Investigator Award on February 3, 2021. Dr. Digman is leading a project with Dr. Prescher to develop a new technique to shine “biological flashlights” on many different immune- and metabolism-related molecules at the same time. The technique, which they dub bioluminescent phasor, will ultimately yield a large toolkit of optical tags that can light up multiple processes or proteins in the laboratory mouse’s immune system at once. Once complete, the toolkit would be available for any research lab to use, opening new avenues for discoveries about the immune system and its relationship to our diet.  

Their project will receive $1.5 million in funding over three years. Drs. Digman and Prescher are the two among ten new Allen Distinguished Investigators who are working in teams to explore new avenues of basic biology, health, disease and technology development. Their project is the one of four projects supported by The Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group, a division of the Allen Institute, all focused on unanswered questions about how the immune system and metabolism work together. 

The Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group, a division of the Allen Institute, is dedicated to exploring the landscape of bioscience to identify and foster ideas that will change the world. The Allen Distinguished Investigator program was launched in 2010 by Allen to back creative, early-stage research projects in biology and medical research that would not otherwise be supported by traditional research funding programs. Including the 10 new investigators announced today, a total of 92 Allen Distinguished Investigators have been appointed.