Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigators

HHMI is a science philanthropy whose mission is to advance biomedical research and science education for the benefit of humanity. We empower exceptional scientists and students to pursue fundamental questions about living systems. Headquartered in Chevy Chase, MD, HHMI employs more than 3,000 individuals across the United States. In fiscal year 2012, HHMI invested $695 million in U.S. research and provided $78 million in grants and other support for science education.

HHMI Investigators

The current group of HHMI investigators includes 17 Nobel laureates and 172 members of the National Academy of Sciences. HHMI urges its researchers to take risks, explore unproven avenues, and embrace the unknown—even if it means uncertainty or the chance of failure. They identify and pursue significant biological questions in a rigorous and deep manner. They develop new tools and methods that enable creative experimental approaches to biological questions, when necessary bringing to bear concepts or techniques from other disciplines. They forge links between basic biology and medicine, opening new pathways for disease diagnosis and drug discovery.

By employing scientists as investigators rather than awarding them grants for specific research projects, HHMI provides its researchers long-term, flexible funding that gives them the freedom to explore and, if necessary, change direction. HHMI investigators have support to follow their ideas through to fruition, even if that process takes a very long time. Our philosophy of selecting “people, not projects” seeks researchers who bring innovative approaches to the study of many different biological problems through the biomedical disciplines of genetics, cell biology, developmental biology, biochemistry, and neuroscience as well as adjacent fields of biophysics, chemical biology, biomedical engineering, and computational biology. Plant scientists, experimental evolutionary biologists, and patient-oriented researchers are also in the ranks of current investigators.


  • Tanya Paull (Molecular Genetics, Microbiology) – 2008

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