Early career scientists given support to pursue research in best international labs

Twelve of the brightest newly qualified researchers have been awarded Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowships. The awards provide £250 000 over four years so that researchers can pursue important biomedical research questions, working in the best laboratories in the UK and overseas.

This year's recipients include Dr Thorold Theunissen, who is based at the Wellcome Trust/Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute at the University of Cambridge. Dr Theunissen will spend time in the USA at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His work aims to develop pluripotent stem cells - the body's master cells, which can develop into specialised cells - that can be used to investigate human diseases and test potential drugs.

Dr Gülşen Sürmeli from the University of Edinburgh, who will carry out part of her fellowship at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, will investigate how maps of the space around us are encoded in the brain and how this provides us with the ability to keep track of our location.

"We have had a large number of applications, and it is pleasing to see such strong women and men supported at the start of their independent research careers," said Dr Candy Hassall, Head of Basic Careers at the Wellcome Trust.

"The Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowships provide early career scientists with the opportunity to work in the very best research institutes, enabling them to build an international reputation and develop into the next generation of research leaders. This year's fellows will be spending time in a wide range of countries such as the UK, USA, Italy and Norway."

The full list of fellows is as follows:

Dr Céline Gillebert
University of Oxford
The temporal dynamics of visual selection: convergence from lesion-symptom mapping and the intact functioning brain

Dr Laurence Hunt
Bridging microscopic and macroscopic measures of reward-guided decision making

Luke Jostins
University of Oxford (and Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and Harvard University)
Jointly modelling phenotype and function in the fine-mapping and follow-up of disease associated loci

Dr Dennis Kaetzel
UCL (and MIT and University of Oxford)
Optogenetic dissection and treatment of diseased neural circuitry in schizophrenia

Dr Katja Kornysheva
UCL (and Erasmus MC)
Neural representations of timing for skilled movements

Dr Vikram Narayan
University of Dundee (and University of California, San Francisco)
Delineating the ageing proteome: convergence of ageing pathways in Caenorhabditis elgans

Dr Silvia De Santis
Cardiff University (and Tel Aviv University, University of Leuven, University of Rome)
MIND - Modelling and imaging using non-Gaussian diffusion

Dr Gülşen Sürmeli
University of Edinburgh (and Norwegian University of Science and Technology)
An investigation of synaptic and molecular mechanisms for neural representation of space

Dr Christopher Tape
Institute of Cancer Research, London (and MIT)
Quantitative proteomic dissection of genetic aberrations in PDAC development

Dr Thorold Theunissen
University of Cambridge (and MIT and the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research)
Molecular and functional investigation of distinct pluripotent states in humans

Dr Aartjan te Velthuis
University of Oxford
Decoding the influenza A virus polymerase-promoter complex

Dr Rebecca Voorhees
Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology (and University of Chicago)
The mechanism of membrane insertion of tail-anchored proteins

A full list of previous fellows can be found here.