Sam Light wins Searle Scholar and Brinson Foundation Awards

Sam Light, PhD, Assistant Professor of Microbiology, has been named one of this year’s 15 Searle Scholars and will receive a $300,000 grant to pursue his research on developing a model of microbial metabolic interactions within the gut microbiota. Dr. Light joined the BSD faculty in 2020 and uses biochemical and genetic approaches to study how beneficial and pathogenic bacteria interact with their mammalian hosts.

The Searle Scholars Program recognizes and supports “high-risk, high-reward” research by faculty in their first or second years of their appointments, whose work has the potential to make innovative and high-impact contributions in their fields. We congratulate Dr. Light on this significant award.

Dr. Light has also received a $200,000, two-year Brinson Medical Research Fellowship to study the relationship of the gut microbiome to glucose tolerance in type 2 diabetes. The Brinson Fellowship will support a project in Light’s lab to understand how recently discovered microbes in the human gut contribute to type 2 diabetes. These microbes convert dietary protein into a small molecule called imidazole propionate (ImP) that enters the bloodstream and impairs glucose tolerance. Light and his team hope to identify the microbes responsible for ImP production and characterize the enzymes responsible for producing it in order to potentially develop treatments that target these processes. Read the full story "Sam Light receives grant from the Brinson Foundation to study the gut microbiome and type 2 diabetes" published on January 3, 2022