They got the call
Kevin Guskiewicz was one of 22 who got the call last week. The $500,000 call. The “genius” call.
The no-strings-attached, $500,000 MacArthur Foundation “genius grants” were announced Sept. 20 by the Chicago-based MacArthur Foundation. Recipients largely don’t know they’re in contention for the annual awards, and often learn they’re winners with an out-of-the-blue phone call informing them they’ll receive the money over the next five years.
Guskiewicz’s studies at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill have made strides in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of sports-related concussions. Guskiewicz, 45, said he wants to use some of the grant money to develop rehabilitation plans for athletes and soldiers who suffer concussions. The foundation noted Guskiewicz’s combination of laboratory and in-the-field investigations to further his research.
“It’s sort of like piecing together a puzzle,” he says. “We still have several more pieces of the puzzle to put in place.”
Even though they’re referred to as the “genius grants,” MacArthur Foundation President Robert Gallucci says the more attractive quality is creativity. “We hope we’re giving these people an opportunity they wouldn’t otherwise have to pursue their area or interest and let that spirit that has driven them to be free to accomplish more in the future,” Gallucci says. “We’re aiming here at the future.”
Others with medical/scientific leanings who captured MacArthur fellowships include:
William Seeley, University of California at San Francisco associate professor and neuropathologist who studies human neurodegenerative disease.
Yukiko Yamashita, University of Michigan Medical School assistant professor and developmental biologist studying stem-cell division.
Elodie Ghedin, parasitologist and assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine who studies genetic sequencing techniques.