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NIDCD-supported scientists honored with Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE)

The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) congratulates the NIDCD scientist and grantees who received the 2019 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). Award recipients who were nominated by the National Institutes of Health were Catherine Weisz, Ph.D., NIDCD Intramural Research Program; Jeremy Greenlee, M.D., Iowa University; and Daniel Llano, M.D., Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The recipients of the PECASE were announced July 2 by the White House, with awards presented at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on July 25. The PECASE is the highest honor bestowed by the federal government on scientists and engineers who are in the early stages of their careers. These awards emphasize the importance of investing in science by supporting the research of emerging scientific leaders.

Below is an overview of the careers of these outstanding investigators.

Catherine Weisz, Ph.D., earned a B.S. in neurobiology from Cornell University, an M.S. in biotechnology from Johns Hopkins University, and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. In 2015, Dr. Weisz moved to the intramural program at the NIDCD, where she became acting chief of the Section on Neuronal Circuitry. Dr. Weisz’s laboratory seeks to improve our understanding of the brain's hearing circuitry. She investigates the synaptic transmission and electrical properties of descending neuronal circuitry in the auditory brainstem and cochlea.

Jeremy Greenlee, M.D., earned a B.S. from the University of Michigan and an M.D. from Indiana University School of Medicine. He completed an internship, fellowship, and residency in neurosurgery and a fellowship in minimally invasive neurosurgery at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. He then joined the University of Iowa as a clinician-scientist. Dr. Greenlee’s laboratory investigates how human hearing, speech, and language is represented in the brains of humans undergoing surgery for epilepsy.

Daniel Llano, M.D., Ph.D., earned a B.S. in biology and a Ph.D. in molecular and integrative physiology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He also earned an M.D. from the University of Illinois. He completed clinical fellowships in medicine and neurology at Harvard Medical School, was an instructor in the neurology department at the University of Chicago, and was an associate medical director at Abbott Laboratories. In 2010, Dr. Llano became a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. He also became a staff neurologist at Carle Hospital and Carle Neuroscience Institute, Urbana, Illinois. Dr. Llano's laboratory investigates aging-related auditory network dysfunction and the mechanisms by which complex sounds, such as speech, are processed by the auditory system.

NIDCD-supported scientists who were nominated by outside groups and who also received the PECASE were Suzanne Adlof, Ph.D.,, of the University of South Carolina, who was nominated by the U.S. Department of Education, and Cara Stepp, Ph.D., of Boston University, nominated by the National Science Foundation.

The NIDCD congratulates these researchers on their outstanding achievements.

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