Johns Hopkins University biologist Samer Hattar has been awarded a Packard Foundation Fellowship for Science and Engineering for the year 2006.
The fellowship is one of 24 awarded each year nationwide, and bestows unrestricted funds to young faculty members in science and engineering who have been unusually creative.
Hattar will use the five-year, $625,000 fellowship to continue his study about how subconscious defects in response to light influences learning and thinking.
"I am thrilled to receive this fellowship, which will allow me to venture into an area that is very close to my heart," Hattar said. Using an animal model, he said, he will study what "people experience when they are exposed long- term to excessive light in industrial and office environments."
"We plan to delve into the fundamental question of how light entrainment of our biological clock affects our cognition and ability to learn," he said.
Hattar earned a bachelor's degree in biological sciences from Yarmouk University in Irbid, Jordan, in 1988, a master's degree in biochemistry from American University in Beirut in 1993 and a Ph.D. in biological sciences at the University of Houston in 2000. Later that year, he became a postdoctoral researcher in the Solomon Snyder Department of Neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. In 2004, he took a position as assistant professor in that department and in the Department of Biology at the Johns Hopkins University's Krieger School of Arts and Sciences.
Earlier this year, Hattar was named an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow and, in 2004, he won the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine's Albert Leningher Young Investigator Award.
The David and Lucille Packard Foundation established its fellowships in 1988 to cultivate future scientific leaders.
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