Palo Alto, CA—Carnegie evolutionary geneticist Moises Exposito-Alonso was selected by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute as one of 31 inaugural Freeman Hrabowski Scholars—outstanding early career faculty in science who have potential to become leaders in their research fields and to create diverse and inclusive lab environments in which everyone can thrive.
HHMI named the program in honor of Freeman A. Hrabowski III, President Emeritus of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and a former Carnegie Trustee. Throughout his career, Hrabowski has been a major force in increasing the number of scientists, engineers, and physicians from backgrounds that are underrepresented in science in the U.S. HHMI intends this new program, launched in 2022, to carry on his legacy.
“The Freeman Hrabowski Scholars program reflects HHMI’s continued commitment to supporting people, not projects,” said the organization’s president, Erin O’Shea. “We aim to provide Scholars with the resources they need to pursue scientific breakthroughs and empower others to ask critical research questions. In this way, our Scholars are well positioned to make an indelible impact on the future of science.”
Expósito Alonso holds one of Carnegie’s prestigious Staff Associate positions—which recognizes early career excellence—and is also an Assistant Professor (by courtesy) at Stanford University.
His lab investigates the genetic processes driving plant species adaptation or extinction in response to new environments caused by climate change. Centered on model plant species, Exposito-Alonso's team integrates long-term evolutionary experiments in field sites worldwide with molecular biology and genomics to explore the gene pathways underlying plant climate adaptation, and the speed and predictability of rapid evolution. By employing biodiversity modeling informed by genomics, this research is unveiling the impact of climate and land transformations on species evolution and the loss of genetic diversity globally.
“Congratulations to Moi on this major recognition of the bold and creative directions of his research,” said Carnegie Biosphere Sciences and Engineering Deputy Directory Stephanie Hampton. “His commitment to advancing science in new directions, combined with his enthusiastic mentorship of his lab members, makes him the perfect choice for this new HHMI program and I am confident that he will live up to its lofty goals and make a lasting impact on his field.”
Representing 22 U.S. institutions, the new cohort of scholars will be appointed to a five-year term, renewable for a second five-year term after a successful progress evaluation and receive up to $8.6 million over 10 years, including full salary, benefits, a research budget, and scientific equipment.
Additionally, the awardees will participate in professional development to advance their leadership and mentorship skills. HHMI anticipates that the Freeman Hrabowski Scholars will work toward becoming leaders in their field and believes that, by fostering equitable and inclusive environments in their labs, these early career researchers will provide a strong foundation for their trainees’ future success in science.