Tuesday, 10 October 2017 12:50 Last Updated on Tuesday, 10 October 2017 17:21
Tijana Ivanovic won the New Innovator Award

Tijana Ivanovic was a student at the Mathematics Gymnasium from 1991 until 1994. A major influence on Ivanovic’s career had her Biology professor, Branka Dobrkovic, who taught her that biology is not a memorization class, but instead a logical description of the inner workings of the living world. In 1999 Ivanovic completed a B.S. degree at University of California, Los Angeles, and then did research on HIV at Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center in New York until 2002. In 2008, she obtained a PhD in Virology from Harvard University, and stayed on as a postdoc at Harvard until obtaining an independent faculty position at Brandeis University in Boston in 2006. On October 5 of this year, Ivanovic has received a Director’s New Innovator Award from the National Institutes of Health for basic research on influenza virus. New Innovator is one of the most prestigious awards an early-career scientist can get. The award recognizes creativity in approach and recognizes the potential of the proposed research to solve global problems in novel ways. Aside from this recognition, Ivanovic has received $1,500,000 to study the mechanisms of viral adaptation. Which molecular changes enable an avian virus to cause disease and spread among humans? To solve this problem, Dr. Ivanovic will use a special microscope, TIRFM (Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence Microscope) to visualize individual virus particles during penetration of cellular membranes. In her research, she combines virology, biophysics, mathematics and computer simulations. The award funds will enable Dr. Ivanovic to upgrade the capabilities of the TIRFM she’s built for her research. Most importantly, the funds have created new opportunities for hiring postdocs, PhD students, and research technicians to undertake this ambitious program.

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