Awards, People

Three faculty members among 15 new Searle Scholars

By Robert Sanders


Three young UC Berkeley faculty members were appointed Searle Scholars this week, comprising one-fifth of the 2016 class of 15 fellows, each of whom will receive $300,000 in research support for the next three years.

Garcia, Traxler and Yartsev

2016 Searle Scholars Hernan Garcia, Matthew Traxler and Michael Yartsev.

The three are:

Hernan Garcia, an assistant professor of molecular and cell biology and of physics, who is working on a research project titled “Lighting Up the Synthetic Fly.”

Matthew Traxler, an assistant professor of plant and microbial biology, whose research involves decoding microbial interactions using next-generation mass spectrometry, with the goal of discovering useful new natural products.

Michael Yartsev, an assistant professor of bioengineering and a member of the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, who is studying the neural basis of spatial habit learning using free flying echolocating bats.

The program makes grants to universities and research centers to support the independent research of exceptional young faculty in the biomedical sciences and chemistry.

“Each of these amazing young scientists is taking cutting-edge approaches to answer fundamental questions in chemistry and the biological and biomedical sciences,” said Doug Fambrough, scientific director of the program. “They have thought deeply about how their discoveries might benefit ‘people-kind,’ as one can even find reflected in the titles of some of their research projects. We expect great things to come from their work, and we are delighted to be able to give an early boost to their careers.”

The Searle Scholars Program is funded through grants from the family trusts to the Chicago Community Trust and administered by Kinship Foundation, the private operating foundation that manages the institutional philanthropy of the Searle Family. For more information about the Searle Scholars Program visit

For more detail, read the Searle Scholars Program announcement.