We are excited to announce that John Tuthill, a UWIN faculty member, has been selected to join the 2019 Pew Scholars Program in Biomedical Sciences. The Pew Charitable Trusts funds the scholars program, committing to “investing in scholars at the beginning stages of their careers”.
The Pew Scholars program chose John Tuthill alongside twenty one other researchers from all over the United States. The program hopes to “answer some of the most pressing questions surrounding human health and disease”. Dr. Tuthill’s current research focuses on the adaptability of animal’s body sensing and movement abilities.
His research involves modifying the gait of fruit flies as they walk on tiny treadmills and learn to avoid obstacles . By manually changing when the proprioceptor – limb control – neurons activate, the flies’ gait can also be modified. Modifying the neural activity cause the flies’ gait to change, which then causes the flies’ fine motor control system to adapt. This adaption allows the flies to retrain their motor control neurons to work even in non-ideal circumstances. Dr. Tuthill hopes the work into fly neuron adaptation aids therapeutic efforts for nerve injury in humans.
The Pew Trusts website contains more information about all twenty two 2019 Pew Scholars.
Dr. Tuthill has received a number of previous awards: a 2018 McKnight Scholar Award, 2017 Allen Institute Next Generation Leader, awarded a Sloan Fellowship, named a 2017 Searle Scholar, and received a UW Innovation Award.