Elizabeth Haswell, associate professor of biology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, was named a Faculty Scholar by a trio of major philanthropies Sept. 22. In all, just 84 out of more than 1,400 applicants were successful.
In 2015, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), in partnership with the Simons Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, initiated the Faculty Scholars Program to select outstanding early-career scientists in basic biological and biomedical research, as well as in chemistry, physics, computer science and engineering that are related to biology or medicine. Haswell’s award provides $900,000 in support over a five-year period.
Haswell studies how plants use mechanosensitive ion channels to sense and respond to mechanical forces such as tension, touch or vibration. She is also developing research tools that will enable her to measure membrane tension in live cells and to explore electrical signaling during trap closure in a carnivorous aquatic plant. “I work at the intersection of mechanobiology and plant biology,” Haswell said.