Natasha Sheybani, PhD, Receives NIH Director’s Early Independence Award


Key Points

  • The award is given to outstanding junior scientists and enables them to launch an independent research career.
  • Dr. Sheybani will be an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering and establish her research laboratory at the University of Virginia this fall.
  • She is also a Senior Scientist at the Foundation.

Natasha SheybaniFocused ultrasound researcher and Foundation Senior Scientist, Natasha Sheybani, PhD, has been selected for an NIH Director’s Early Independence Award. The honor enables junior scientist recipients to bypass the postdoctoral training period – which typically lasts three to five years – and launch an independent research career.

In August 2020, Dr. Sheybani earned her PhD from the Department of Biomedical Engineering in the University of Virginia (UVA) School of Engineering & Applied Science. Her dissertation was the accumulation of five years spent studying the use of focused ultrasound for cancer immunotherapy. From there, she accepted a postdoctoral position at Stanford University.

However, because of her recent award, Dr. Sheybani is returning to UVA this fall, where she will become an assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. She will also establish her own research laboratory and aims to advance noninvasive precision immunotherapy in solid cancers using focused ultrasound and quantitative imaging.

The Early Independence Award was established in 2011 and is part of the NIH’s High-Risk, High-Reward Research program, which supports scientists who are pursuing innovative research that has the potential for a broad impact in biomedical, behavioral, or social sciences. The award will provide Dr. Sheybani with $250,000 in direct research costs annually for up to five years.

“It is a tremendous honor to have been selected as one of this year’s recipients of the NIH Director’s Early Independence Award,” says Dr. Sheybani. “This support will catalyze the launch of the Sheybani Lab at UVA and enable me to build a dynamic, interdisciplinary team of researchers dedicated to pushing the frontiers of therapeutic ultrasound in cancer immunotherapy – particularly in the settings of metastatic breast cancer and glioblastoma. I’m looking forward to continued collaborations in and contributions to our field.”

Read the Announcement from UVA >

Related Articles
Webinar: “Picture a Scientist” Panel Discussion with Women in Focused Ultrasound January 2021
Foundation Senior Scientist Named STAT Wunderkind December 2020
Webinar: “Focused Ultrasound for Gene Therapy” September 2020
Foundation-Funded Researcher, Natasha Sheybani, Successfully Defends Doctoral Dissertation August 2020
UVA Student Researcher Earns Prestigious Award from the National Cancer Institute October 2018