Foundation Scholars

The Rita Allen Foundation has awarded millions of dollars in grants to our Scholars. The Rita Allen Foundation Scholars program concentrates on young leaders in bio-medical research who are advancing our understanding of the human condition. Through our Scholars, we embrace innovative research with above average risk and groundbreaking possibilities. We are proud of the more than 150 Scholars, including a Nobel Laureate, who have received our financial assistance. Our Scholars are nominated by premier research institutions and then selected by the Rita Allen Foundation Scientific Advisory Committee. Individuals chosen and their affiliated institutions receive grants of up to $110,000 annually, for a maximum of five years. Some of the Guiding Principles for selection include: attention to innovation, focus on areas of global concern, opportunities for lasting outcomes, collaborations, and a demonstration of leadership and learning potential. Investment in our Scholars helps us support transformative ideas in their earliest stages.

About the Rita Allen Foundation Scholars Program


1976-80 James B. Lewis Cold Spring Harbor
1976-78 Harold M. Weintraub Princeton & Hutchinson Cancer Center
1976-79 Robert A. Weinberg MIT
1978-82 Kathleen M. Foley Cornell Medical
1978-81,86 William W. Hall Rockefeller University
1978-79 Thomas P. Maniatis Cal Tech
1978-82 Graham C. Walker MIT
1979-83 John Condeelis Albert Einstein College of Medicine
1979-83 Stephen A. Udem Albert Einstein College of Medicine
1979-83 Paul H. Patterson Harvard Medical
1983-87 Bruce W. Stillman Cold Spring Harbor
1983-84 Luis P. Villarreal Univ. of Colorado School of Medicine
1983-86 Barbara J. Wold Cal Tech
1984-85 Thomas M. Jessell Harvard Medical
1984-85 Carl F. Nathan Rockefeller University
1984-88 H. Earl Ruley MIT
1985-89 Bruce P. Bean Harvard Medical
1985-89 Brent H. Cochran MIT
1985-88 Stanley M. Goldin Harvard Medical
1985-89 Winship Herr Cold Spring Harbor
1985-87 Carl S. Parker Cal Tech
1986-90 Ronald D.C. McKay MIT
1986-90 Adrienne A. Brian Univ. of California, San Diego
1986-90 Charles D. Gilbert Rockefeller University
1988-92 Gilbert Chu Stanford Medical Center
1988-92 Stephen L. Hauser Univ. of California, San Francisco, Harvard
1988-92 Jon D. Levine Univ. of California, San Francisco
1989-93 Andrew Z. Fire Carnegie Institute of Washington
1989-93 Nouria Hernandez Cold Spring Harbor
1989-92 Ronald D. Vale Univ. of California, San Francisco
1990-91 Peter S. Kim Whitehead Institute
1990-94 Greg Lemke The Salk Institute
1990-94 Marilyn D. Resh Princeton & Memorial Sloan-Kettering
1991-95 Jeffrey D. Macklis Harvard Medical
1991-95 David O. Morgan Univ. of California, San Francisco
1991-95 Elizabeth A. Komives Univ. of California, San Diego
1993-97 Jun Liu MIT
1993-97 Stephen L. Mayo Cal Tech
1993-97 Christopher Walsh Harvard Medical
1994-98 Michael O. Hengartner Cold Spring Harbor
1994-98 Joachim J. Li Univ. of California, San Francisco
1994-97 James R. Williamson MIT & Scripps Research Institute
1995-99 Bruce A. Edgar Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center
1995-99 Stephen P. Bell MIT
1995-98 Titia de Lange Rockefeller University
1996-99 Andrew Chess MIT
1996-99 Robert K. Ho Princeton
1996-99 Li-Huei Tsai Harvard Medical
1998-00 Peter Mombaerts Rockefeller University
1998-00 Jon S. Thorson Sloan-Kettering Institute
1998-00 Frank J. Hsu Yale School of Medicine
1998-00 Ilaria Rebay MIT-Whitehead Institute
1999-01 Susan M. Dymecki Harvard Medical
1999-01 K. Christopher Garcia Stanford School of Medicine
1999-01 Scott W. Lowe Cold Spring Harbor
1999-01 Yigong Shi Princeton
2000-02 Yukiko Goda Univ. of CA, San Diego & Medical Research Council
2000-02 Michael P. Rout Rockefeller University
2000-02 Samuel Wang Princeton
2000-02 Gregory J. Hannon Cold Spring Harbor
2001-03 Daniel L. Minor, Jr. Univ. of CA., San Francisco
2001-03 Steven Artandi Stanford University Medical Center
2001-03 Adrian R. Ferre-D’Amare Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
2001-03 Oliver Hobert Columbia University
2001-03 David C. Chan Cal Tech
2002-03 Mark Henkemeyer Univ. of Texas, SW Medical Center
2002-03 William Talbot Stanford
2002-04 Xianxin Hua Univ. of PA Medical School
2002-03 Hao Wu Cornell/Weill Medical School
2003-05 Christopher Lima Cornell/Weill Medical College
2003-05 Ajay Chawla Stanford
2003-05 Shai Shaham Rockefeller University
2003-05 Leslyn A. Hanakahi Johns Hopkins
2004-07 Laura A. Johnston Columbia University
2004-07 Senthil K. Muthuswamy Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
2004-07 David M. Sabatini Whitehead Institute
2004-05 David A. Tuveson University of Pennsylvania
2004-07 Zheng Zhou Baylor College of Medicine
2005-09 Hilary A. Coller* Princeton University
2005-09 Elsa R. Flores MD Anderson Cancer Center
2005-08 Johanna Joyce Memorial Sloan-Kettering
2005-09 Joel L. Pomerantz Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
2006-10 Peter W. Reddien* MIT-Whitehead Institute
2006-10 Joshua T. Mendell Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
2006-10 Adrian Salic Harvard Medical School
2007-10 Michael T. Hemann MIT Center for Cancer Research
2007-10 Tae Hoon Kim Yale University
2007-10 Lloyd C. Trotman Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
2007-10 Mark J. Zylka * University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
2008-11 E. Alejandro Sweet-Cordero Stanford University Medical School
2008-11 Emmanuelle A. Passegue University of California, San Francisco
2008-11 Ian J. Davis University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
2008-11 Paul Chang MIT Cancer Research Center
2008-11 Ming Li Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
2008-13 Steven J. Altschuler * University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center
2009-12 Aaron D. Gitler University of Pennsylvania
2009-14 Ben Black University of Pennsylvania
2009-15 Jeremy Dittman Weill Cornell Medical College
2009-14 Samara Reck-Peterson * Harvard Medical School
2009-14 Daniel Stetson University of Washington School of Medicine
2009-14 Sohail Tavazoie Rockefeller University
2009-12 Steven Prescott University of Pittsburgh
2009-12 Theodore Price University of Arizona
2010-15 Randy Bruno Columbia University
2010-15 Maitreya Dunham University of Washington
2010-15 David Prober * California Institute of Technology
2010-15 Agata Smogorzewska Rockefeller University
2010-15 Ye Zheng Salk Institute for Biological Studies
2010-13 Diana Bautista Berkeley
2010-13 Seena Ajit Drexel University
2011- Briana Burton* Harvard University
2011- Elissa Hallem University of California, Los Angeles
2011- Rahul Kohli University of Pennsylvania
2011- Michael Lin Stanford University
2011- Axel Nimmerjahn Salk Institute for Biological Studies
2011-14 Edgar Romero-Sandoval Dartmouth Hitchcock
2011-14 Yuanxiang Tao Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
2012- Sreekanth Chalasani Salk Institute for Biological Studies
2012- Christopher Hammell * Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
2012-15 Michael Jankowski Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
2012- Xin Liu UT Southwestern Medical Center
2012- Michael Long NYU School of Medicine
2012- Luciano Marraffini The Rockefeller University
2012-15 Sarah Ross University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
2013- Michael Boyce Duke University School of Medicine
2013- Sophie Dumont * University of California, San Francisco
2013- Dorothea Fiedler Princeton University
2013- Elena Gracheva Yale School of Medicine
2013- William James Greenleaf Stanford University School of Medicine
2013- Rebecca Seal University of Pittsburgh
2013- Reza Sharif-Naeini McGill University
2014- Lei Ding Columbia University
2014- Molly Hammell * Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
2014- Sebastian Klinge The Rockefeller University
2014- Zachary Knight University of California, San Francisco
2014- Gregory Scherrer Stanford University
2014- Lin Tian University of California, Davis
2014- Tuan Trang University of Calgary
2015- Minoree Kohwi  Columbia University
2015- Yevgenia Kozorovitskiy  Northwestern University
2015- Julie Law  Salk Institute for Biological Studies
2015- John Schoggins * The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
2015- Robert Sorge  The University of Alabama at Birmingham
2015- Jeremy Wilusz  Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
2015- Yi Ye  New York University
2016- Steve Davidson University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
2016- Camila dos Santos  Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
2016- Monica Dus University of Michigan
2016- Katherine Hanlon  University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine
2016- Alex Kentsis  Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
2016- Bo Li University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
2016- Katharina Schlacher The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
*Milton E. Cassel Scholar


What is the Rita Allen Foundation Scholars program? What are its funding priorities?

The Rita Allen Foundation Scholars program supports basic biomedical research in the fields of cancer, immunology and neuroscience. There also is currently a joint award for scholars in pain research, which is sponsored by the Rita Allen Foundation and the American Pain Society. Learn more about the Rita Allen Foundation Award in Pain here.

The Rita Allen Foundation Scholars program has supported more than 150 scientists since 1976. The program embraces innovative research with above-average risk and groundbreaking possibilities. Scholars have gone on to win the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, the National Medal of Science, the Wolf Prize in Medicine and the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences.

What size of grants are available to Rita Allen Foundation Scholars?

Scholars can receive up to $110,000 per year for a maximum of five years. Scholars in Pain Research can be granted $50,000 per year for up to three years.

What can the grant funds be used for?

Rita Allen Foundation Scholar grant funds may only be used for direct project expenses, including up to 50 percent of the Scholar’s compensation.

Who is eligible to apply for the Scholars program?

Only invited institutions are eligible to submit a nomination for consideration for the Rita Allen Foundation Scholars program. The Rita Allen Foundation Scientific Advisory Committee reviews and recommends eligible institutions, which are confirmed by the Rita Allen Foundation Board of Directors.

The Scientific Advisory Committee reviews and selects finalists from the eligible institutions for the Scholars program.

Only one nominated candidate per eligible institution is accepted per year.

If an institution is not on the eligible list, how can it be considered for inclusion?

Institutions not currently eligible but interested should write to Elizabeth Good Christopherson, President and Chief Executive Officer, Rita Allen Foundation, 92 Nassau Street, Third Floor, Princeton, New Jersey 08542. The Rita Allen Foundation will notify institutions deemed eligible to nominate. The Scientific Advisory Committee typically reviews the eligibility list in the spring of each year with invitation letters released in the summer or early fall.

Who is eligible to become a Rita Allen Foundation Scholar?

To be eligible for a Rita Allen Foundation Scholars Award, candidates must be nominated by a selected institution and have completed their training and provided persuasive evidence of distinguished achievement or extraordinary promise in research in one of the relevant fields (cancer, immunology, neuroscience or pain).

Who should be nominated for the Rita Allen Foundation Scholars program?

Institutions should consider the following when considering who to nominate for the Rita Allen Foundation Scholars program:

  • Candidates should be independent investigators in the early stages of their careers and research.
  • The caliber of early-stage investigators suggests nominees would be appointed to tenure track positions at their respective institutions.
  • It is preferable that candidates be in the first three years of their tenure track. (This is taken into consideration in the rating of applications by the Scientific Advisory Committee.)
  • A senior post-doc should not be a candidate; wait until s/he has tenure track as described.
  • Associate professors should not be candidates.
  • Candidates must have received committed start-up funds from their respective institutions.
  • Candidates must have lab space from their institutions.

Applicants with committed awards that overlap the first two years of the Rita Allen Foundation Scholars Program from the Beckman Young Investigator Program, Kimmel Scholar Award, Pew Scholars Program in Biomedical Sciences, and Searle Scholars Program are not eligible. Other sources of funding may influence selection.

Nominating institutions should consider the highly competitive nature of the Rita Allen Foundation Scholars program and submit their strongest nominee for consideration. The Rita Allen Foundation requests that eligible institutions share with us a description of the process they follow to nominate candidates.

Further questions regarding the Rita Allen Foundation Scholars program should be directed to those responsible for the internal nominating process within a given eligible institution.

What are the key dates and deadlines for the 2016 program?

November 2, 2015 through January 22, 2016 Application period
December 11, 2015 Letter of Inquiry (LOI) deadline
January 22, 2016 Proposal deadline
February and March 2016 Review period
April 28, 2016 Finalist interviews - New York City
May 2016 Grant awards announced
June 2016 Grant contracts due
July 2016 Press announcement
September 2016 – August 2021 Grant period
August 31, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 Interim reports due
December 1, 2021 Final report due

What is the nomination and application process?

The nomination must be completed by a senior official at the nominating institution and must be completed online through Fluxx, a Web-based grant application system. Nominations should include the following required support materials:

  • Identification of the candidate and an official letter of nomination,
  • An assessment of the candidate, and
  • A description of the procedure used by the institution to identify the nominee.

Institutions are limited to submitting one nomination per review cycle.

Once the nomination is complete and has been approved by the Foundation, candidates are required to complete the grant application in Fluxx and provide the following application support materials:

  • A proposal narrative/plan of work of no more than four pages in length,
  • A detailed curriculum vitae,
  • Letters of support from five people acquainted with the candidate’s work, at least two of which should come from individuals outside of the candidate’s institution, and
  • Details of current and pending support from other funding sources.

What reports are required of Rita Allen Foundation Scholars?

Successful grant recipients are required to provide complete narrative and financial reports detailing their expenditure of the grant funds and progress made toward the goal(s) of the grants. Grant reports also must be submitted online through Fluxx.