Packard Fellowships for Science and Engineering


High Risk, High Rewards

Breakthroughs and Discoveries Led by Packard Fellows

Over the years, Packard Fellows’ curiosity-driven research into the unknown has led to scientific and engineering breakthroughs that have changed the way we live our lives and helped us better understand the world around us. Below is a sample of what they’ve accomplished:

This gene editing technology can permanently modify genes in living cells and organisms, opening the door to new possibilities for treating and curing diseases.

This new form of matter established a new branch of atomic physics, confirming S.N Bose and Albert Einstein’s theory nearly 70 years later.

Sequencing the Ebola genome revealed that the virus was moving from person to person—a discovery that allowed scientists and doctors to focus on tracing patient contacts to eventually corral the epidemic.

The twin-prime conjecture has long puzzled mathematicians, so proving what is now called the Green-Tao theorem moved mathematicians even closer to proving the conjecture and inspired many new directions in mathematical research.

Combining an innovative software tool with genome sequencing technology, this diagnostic test has the potential to identify any infectious disease with relative certainty.

Designed to establish that a computer user is human, this application enhances cybersecurity and has also assisted in the digitization of materials like books, addresses, and newspapers.

Capturing the first ever fMRIs of babies’ brains has the potential to unlock how different parts of the brain develop and adapt depending on what a person is doing, perceiving, or thinking.

An unexpected discovery in a Tyrannosaurus rex fossil showed that fossils are composed of both hard and soft tissues, upending conventional thought about the fossilization process.

Tracing the pathways of vocal learning in birds may one day lead to cures for human diseases, such as restoring speech in stroke victims or new treatments for brain injuries.

Using lizards to understand that convergent evolution is quite common has helped us better understand that species may not necessarily be closely related, but may instead evolve in similar ways.

Research on de-extinction—or reviving extinct species—is enhancing our understanding of fundamental processes such as evolution, extinction, pandemic disease, climate change, and human impact on the biosphere.

Studying and learning to manipulate the microbiomes of cheese can directly translate to improving human health and the health of the world around us.

Research on tissue engineering and regeneration is opening the door to innovative methods for growing bones, skin, and cartilage, which can help the body heal itself from injuries and potentially cure diseases such as Parkinson’s and diabetes.

Exploring how certain enzymes are inactivated has cleared a path for new treatments for celiac disease.