Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Professor Peter M. Tessier Named Pew Scholar
Peter M. Tessier, assistant professor of chemical and
biological engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, has
been named a 2010 Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences by the
Pew Charitable Trusts.
The distinction includes an award of $240,000 over four
years and inclusion into a select community of scientists that
includes three Nobel Prize winners, three MacArthur Fellows,
and two recipients of the Albert Lasker Medical Research Award,
according to the Pew Charitable Trusts.
“We congratulate Dr. Tessier for being selected as a Pew
Scholar in Biomedical Sciences, an honor reserved for the most
promising young faculty in the biomedical field,” said David
Rosowsky, dean of the School of Engineering at Rensselaer. “We
are extremely proud of Peter for being named a Pew Scholar — as
well as his recent CAREER Award from the National Science
Foundation — and we look forward to his continued development
as a leading scholar and researcher. Dr. Tessier’s recent
recognitions are further evidence of the very high caliber of
faculty we are attracting to Rensselaer.”
Tessier joined the Rensselaer faculty in 2007 following a
postdoctoral fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology’s Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. He
received his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the
University of Maine, and went on to earn his doctoral degree in
chemical engineering from the University of Delaware.
Dr. Tessier is investigating fundamental aspects of
misfolding and clumping of three classes of proteins, long
strings of molecules that participate in virtually every
cellular process. Proteins fold into complex, three-dimensional
structures, which is required for their proper function.
Defects in the folding process can occur, which creates toxic
protein clumps that are the basis of disorders ranging from
Alzheimer’s disease to glaucoma.
Tessier’s immediate goal is to understand how the incorrect
processing of proteins can be prevented, reversed, or
redirected. His long-term objective is to develop new therapies
to treat diseases related to toxic protein aggregation.
The Pew Scholars program enables scientists to take
calculated risks, expand their research, and explore
unanticipated leads. According to Pew, the program — now in its
25th year — has invested more than $125 million to fund nearly
500 scholars. Many of the nation’s best early-career
scientists–working in all areas of physical and life sciences
related to biomedical research–apply to the rigorously
competitive program. Applicants are nominated by one of 155
invited institutions and demonstrate excellence and innovation
in their research.
“Twenty-five years ago, the Pew Charitable Trusts identified a
tremendous opportunity to impact the world of science by
supporting the most promising young investigators and
encouraging them to pursue their best ideas without
restrictions,” said Rebecca W. Rimel, president and CEO of the
Pew Charitable Trusts. “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.”
Earlier this year, Tessier was also awarded a five-year,
$411,872 Faculty Early Career Development Award (CAREER) from
the National Science Foundation (NSF) to further his research
into protein thermodynamics and aggregation.
Contact: Mary L. Martialay
Phone: (518) 276-2146