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Meet the 2019 STAT Wunderkinds

Our search for the next generation of scientific superstars had a stellar third year.

We set out to celebrate the unheralded heroes of science and medicine. We found inspiring stories each year (have a look at the class of 2017 and the class of 2018), and we did again this year.

Over the past several months, a team of STAT editors and reporters pored through hundreds of nominations from across North America. We didn’t set an age limit; we were on the hunt for the most impressive doctors and researchers on the cusp of launching their careers but not yet fully independent. All are blazing new trails as they attempt to answer some of the biggest questions in science and medicine.

Introducing this year’s class of STAT Wunderkinds.

Limo Chen

MD Anderson Cancer Center

Limo Chen wants to improve immunotherapy so more patients benefit. Fighting resistance is one way to do that.

Yamicia Connor

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Surgeon and scientist Yamicia Connor thrives on the creativity of science and the immediacy of surgery.

Ryan Denu

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Ryan Denu’s motivation: “How can I make the biggest impact I can during my time here on this earth?”

Amy Dunn

The Jackson Laboratory

Amy Dunn studies environmental factors that might influence Alzheimer’s — and she talks about that science to students in rural Maine.

Gloria Echeverria

MD Anderson Cancer Center

Gloria Echeverria wants to help the 50% of patients with triple-negative breast cancer who don’t respond to chemo.

Niyi Fadeyi

Merck Exploratory Science Center

Niyi Fadeyi’s interest in chemistry was sparked when a high school science teacher showed the class the chemical structure of garri, a food staple in his native Nigeria.

Di Feng

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Di Feng feels a familial connection to hypertension and kidney disease. Her research has linked a rare kidney disease to these more common illnesses.

Bruno Miguel da Cruz Godinho

University of Massachusetts Medical School

Bruno Miguel da Cruz Godinho blended biology and chemistry into a career in pharmacy, but his love of laboratory research had a stronger pull.

Greg Haro

University of California, San Francisco

Dr. Greg Haro’s background as a professional trumpet player led him to a career in medicine.

Nora Kory

Whitehead Institute

Studying microscopic compartments of the cell makes up just one side of Kory: She also sings with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Sara LaHue

UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences

Sara LaHue studies cognitive impairment in older people — which she emphasizes is not a part of normal aging.

Jeff Morgan

University of Utah

Jeff Morgan likes to blaze his own trail where there hasn’t been a lot of prior research.

Junaid Nabi

Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School

Junaid Nabi asks one universal question: How can we make delivery of health care more equitable?

Sudhakar Nuti

Massachusetts General Hospital

Sudhakar Nuti blends primary care medicine, health care research, and public service.

Victoria Poole

Hebrew SeniorLife

Victoria Poole’s mother inspired her career in biomedical engineering. She was a role model and “a bionic woman of sorts.”

Cristina Poveda Cuevas

Baylor College of Medicine

Cristina Poveda Cuevas is developing a vaccine against Chagas disease, a neglected tropical disease caused by a parasite in which she sees beauty.

Ritu Raman


Ritu Raman wants to develop biohybrid devices that can react to what’s happening in an individual patient at any given time.

Sam Rodriques


Sam Rodriques focuses on putting the context back into scientific inquiry, particularly in neuroscience.

Juergen Scharner

Stoke Therapeutics

Applying abstract theories to real life, whether underwater or deep within the genetic machinery of disease, has always been Juergen Scharner’s bent.

Reed Siemieniuk

McMaster University

Reed Siemiunuk has always been struck by how little certainty there is in medicine and dismayed by how often clinical guidelines fall short.

Natalia Sizochenko

Dartmouth College

Natalia Sizochenko explores scientific questions through computational techniques while consistently sharing her love of science with others.

Jonathan Strecker

Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard

Jonathan Strecker is figuring out how to develop next-generation CRISPR genome-editing technology.

The Wunderkinds were selected solely by STAT's editorial staff. The award sponsor had no input in the decision-making process and the awardees have received no financial benefit from the sponsor.

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