Congratulations to postdoctoral associate Juan Valdez-Lopez! Nominated by mentor and PI Jeremy Kay, Juan has been selected as Duke's Hartwell Fellow for 2021. The Hartwell Foundation seeks to provide early-stages funding for excellent postdocs who are starting highly impactful projects.
Juan’s ambitious project focuses on the molecular cues from astrocytes which guide the growth of vasculature as it advances across the retina and impose spatial patterning on the developing capillaries. The relevant molecules are unknown, but Juan has devised a highly innovative screening strategy that will allow him to identify these astocyte-derived factors for the first time, and to prove their importance for retinal angiogenesis.
As Jeremy Kay points out, if Juan’s proposed project is successful in identifying those vascular-patterning molecules, “it would have a huge impact, both for the basic science of neurovascular development and also for insights into the pathobiology of retinal disease.”
The fellowship will provide $50,000 a year in salary for the next two years.