Aseem Ansari, Cameron Currie & Francisco Pelegri receive Romnes fellowships

Three of those receiving this year’s Romnes Faculty Fellowships are from CALS. The Romnes awards recognize exceptional faculty members who have earned tenure within the last four years. Selected by a Graduate School committee, winners receive an unrestricted $50,000 award for research, supported by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF).

This year’s awardees from CALS include:

Aseem Ansari, biochemistry, studies the regulation of gene expression at the interface of chemistry, biology, and genomics. He devises synthetic molecules that function as gene switches to control cell fate with a goal of directing stem cell differentiation. Ansari is also a founding director of the Khorana Program for Scholars (, an exchange program promoting scientific cooperation between UW–Madison and India.

Cameron Currie, bacteriology, studies the ecology and evolution of symbiotic associations between insects and microbes. His research, including extensive work with the charismatic leaf-cutter ant, has potential applications in fields as diverse as bioenergy development and drug discovery. He has received several awards, including a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the nation’s highest honor for young independent researchers.

Francisco Pelegri, genetics/medical genetics, studies the early stages of vertebrate development, including fertilization, cell division and cell fate determination, with applications to reproductive, regenerative and cancer biology. He teaches several genetics courses and serves as a member of the CALS Curriculum Committee, chair of the Genetics Curriculum Committee, and on several scientific advisory panels for the National Institutes of Health.

Go here to see a full list of this year’s Romnes recipients.