Schmidt is one of 18 scientists to receive the award, which encourages the nation’s most promising young scientists to pursue careers in cancer research by providing them with independent funding ($156,000 each, over three years) to work on innovative projects.
Schmidt works in the Synthetic Neurobiology Group under Benesse Career Development Associate Professor Edward Boyden. (The Synthetic Neurobiology Group is affiliated with the MIT Media Lab, the Department of Biological Engineering, the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, and the McGovern Institute for Brain Research, among other departments and labs.) Schmidt’s research focuses on the brain cancer glioblastoma multiforme, one of the most malignant, invasive and difficult-to-treat brain tumors. He is using bioengineered molecules as a way to investigate the role of ion channels, proteins critical to glioblastoma growth and metastasis. His findings will lead to a better understanding of how ion-channel disorders contribute to cancer development, and may represent new targets for cancer therapy.