Dr Gabi Heller named Schmidt Science Fellow 2020

Newnham College is delighted to announce that biologist Dr Gabi Heller, our Rosalind Franklin Research Fellow, has been named a Schmidt Science Fellow 2020. The Schmidt Science Fellows programme, for exceptional early career researchers, seeks to harness interdisciplinary approaches to tackle long-term societal challenges, including infectious disease, climate change, and biodiversity loss.

The Fellowship comes with a $100,000 stipend and each Fellow is paired with an internationally accomplished and experienced senior scientist as a mentor.

Dr Gabi Heller is a computational biologist who used her PhD to utilize high-powered computational approaches to probe how drugs interact with a class of disease-causing proteins in the body called disordered proteins. These proteins are challenging to target with drugs as they rapidly change their structure. As a Schmidt Science Fellow, Gabi aims to pivot into experimental structural biology to uncover the rules of binding viral disordered proteins. She aims to work towards approaches for drug design that could offer entirely new opportunities for antiviral treatments.

Gabi explains, “This program will support me for one year at another university to explore new experimental techniques. They also provide incredible training for scientists in leadership, policy, and communication. This opportunity would not have been possible without the incredible support of Newnham College as the Rosalind Franklin Research Fellow. I am so grateful.”

The 2020 Schmidt Science Fellows represent eight nationalities and 17 nominating institutions.

“As the need for rapid and innovative scientific discovery and response grows more urgent during this global pandemic, we are convinced now, more than ever, there is tremendous value in recruiting the most promising scientific minds to apply their intellectual rigor and investigation to additional disciplines,” said Wendy Schmidt, co-founder of Schmidt Futures, “These exceptional early-career scientists join a growing community of Schmidt Science Fellows working to make transformative contributions, including new ways to fight against pandemic pathogens. Eric and I are excited to see what they can accomplish together.”

Newnham College is delighted by Gabi’s Fellowship, which recognises her outstanding promise as an early-career scientist.