Biophysics researcher wins $2.5 million NIH award


A Florida State University researcher is among the first batch of scientists to be awarded a new type of National Institutes of Health grant that will provide full support for their research programs over the next five years.

Huan-Xiang Zhou, a professor in FSU’s Department of Physics, will receive $2.5 million as part of the Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) from the NIH. The MIRA grants have been designed to give researchers total flexibility in how their labs move forward in investigating critical scientific questions.

“Having the freedom to pursue projects as science progresses is really the best way to do science,” Zhou said. “We can improvise as our own research progresses and also as the field evolves.”

Most grants given by federal funding agencies are tied to an extremely specific mandate or set of experiments. However, researchers often find in the course of their work that they need to change their approach based on the results they achieve or new information published by other scientists. But the terms of their grants do not always allow them to do so.

“Our field is always evolving, so this gives us more flexibility and freedom to stay ahead of the curve,” he said.

The NIH award will be given over five years and provide support for multiple students and postdoctoral fellows in Zhou’s laboratory.

Read the full article at FSU College of Arts & Sciences