Indiana University

News Release

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Last modified: Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Chemist Erin Carlson is a Pew Scholar

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June 22, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University Bloomington chemist Erin Carlson is a 2010 Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences, the Pew Charitable Trusts has announced.

The honor and four-year, $240,000 award is intended to give young researchers the wherewithal to explore the uncharted areas of their fields, and to take chances in pursuit of important discoveries.

Carlson, an assistant professor of chemistry, is IU Bloomington's second honoree in two years. Biologist Joe Pomerening, IU's first-ever Pew Scholar, was nominated last year.

"Erin was highly recruited two years ago and we were thrilled when she joined our department," said Chemistry Chair James Reilly. "I am not surprised that she is receiving this kind of national recognition. In fact, these kinds of awards reflect well on the quality of all of our recently hired junior faculty."

Carlson is developing new methods for isolating promising medicines from bacteria, fungi and plants. Carlson's unusual approach to screening potentially useful compounds takes advantage of the biological molecules' arrangement of atoms. Carlson and the members of her lab are also studying how compounds discovered from natural sources can be altered to improve their biomedical effectiveness.

Carlson says she will use her Pew award to fund postdoctoral, graduate and undergraduate researchers who are working on promising, high-risk projects. She says she will also purchase sophisticated instruments that augment lab members' activities.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the Pew Scholars program has invested more than $125 million to fund nearly 500 scientists. Applicants are nominated by one of 155 invited institutions and demonstrate excellence and innovation in their research. Early-career scientists whose applications are solicited work in all areas of physical and life sciences related to biomedical research.

"Motivating scientists at this point in their careers is essential to advancing discovery and innovation, and Pew is honored to continue its commitment to this cadre of high-quality researchers," said Rebecca Rimel, president and CEO of the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Carlson is an adjunct assistant professor to the IU Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry.

To speak with Carlson, please contact David Bricker, University Communications, at 812-856-9035 or

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