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Neurobiologist Matthew Lovett-Barron Selected as 2022 Pew Scholar

June 10, 2022

By Mario Aguilera

Matthew Lovett Barron

The Pew Charitable Trusts has selected Matthew Lovett-Barron of UC San Diego's School of Biological Sciences to its newest class of the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences. The 2022 class of Pew Biomedical Scholars, which includes 22 early career scientists studying urgent questions in health and medicine, will receive four years of funding support.

Lovett Barron, an assistant professor in the Department of Neurobiology, researches the neural mechanisms of internal brain states and the collective decision making of schooling fish. As a Pew Scholar, Lovett-Barron will explore how schooling fish use visual information to coordinate their behavior.

"Biomedical innovation is essential to solving both current and emerging global health issues," said Susan K. Urahn, Pew's president and CEO. "We are pleased to support this talented and inspiring cohort and their research."

The new class of Pew Scholars was chosen from 197 applicants nominated by leading academic institutions and researchers across the United States. The 2022 class includes scientists exploring the design of "universal vaccines" against rapidly mutating viruses, how the brain processes pain and the evolution of cancer-protective responses from radiation exposure. Joining a network of more than 1,000 scientists who have received awards from Pew since 1985, the new class members will have opportunities to meet annually to build connections and exchange ideas with fellow Pew scientists.

Lovett-Barron's scientific interests include studying animals that live and move as cooperative groups. He and other members of the Lovett-Barron lab use virtual reality and neural activity imaging tools to study the brains and behaviors of schooling fish, to understand how collective behavior arises from the interdependent decisions of individuals.

"This new class embodies diverse, creative and unique new avenues of biomedical research," said Craig C. Mello, a 1995 Pew scholar, 2006 Nobel laureate in physiology or medicine and chair of the national advisory committee for the scholars program. "With support from Pew, these scientists will have not only resources but access to a network of colleagues and advisors that will spark new discoveries and push the boundaries of their work. I look forward to seeing where their discoveries take them."

Last year Lovett-Barron was named a Packard Fellow and a member of the Searle Scholars Program. He joined UC San Diego's School of Biological Sciences in 2020.

The full list of 2022 Pew Scholars is available here.

—   With information from the Pew Charitable Trusts