Carnegie Mellon University
December 15, 2021

Carnegie Mellon Biologists Awarded Grants from Pittsburgh Foundation’s Kaufman Fund

By Jocelyn Duffy

Jocelyn Duffy
  • Associate Dean for Communications, MCS
  • 412-268-9982

Three Carnegie Mellon Department of Biological Sciences faculty members have received grants from The Charles E. Kaufman Foundation, part of The Pittsburgh Foundation, which today announced $2.1 million in funding to support scientific research at institutions across Pennsylvania.

Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences Zheng Kuang received a $150,000 New Investigator grant. The New Investigator grants empower scientists at the beginning of their careers as they seek to make a mark in their fields.

Kuang will explore the mechanics of why metabolism is different in males and females. Using a mouse model, his researcher team will study how gut microbiota regulates sex-specific rhythms in the intestine and how that affects nutrient absorption and energy stores.

Eberly Family Associate Professor of Biological Sciences Yongxin (Leon) Zhao and Maxwell H. and Gloria C. Connan Professor of Biological Sciences Alison Barth received a $300,000 New Initiative Grant. The New Initiative grants encourages investigators with strong research records to establish interdisciplinary collaborations that require expertise beyond that of any single researcher and take a novel approach to a topic.

Zhao and Barth will seek to better understand how inhibitory neurons in the mammalian brain reconfigure within the brain’s cortical circuitry to facilitate learning.

Grants from the Kaufman Foundation, a supporting organization of the Pittsburgh Foundation, go to institutes of higher learning in Pennsylvania for scientists pursuing research that explores essential questions and/or crosses disciplinary boundaries.