Stanford bioengineer Covert receives $1.5 million Distinguished Investigator grant

MARKUS COVERT, an assistant professor of bioengineering at Stanford, has been awarded a $1.5 million Distinguished Investigator exploratory grant from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. Covert was one of five recipients of this year’s award, which, according to the foundation, “aims to unlock fundamental questions in biology.”

Covert’s research involves building complex computer models of living organisms. Last year, he announced completion of the world’s first whole-cell computer model of a simple bacterium. The three-year Allen grant will support Covert’s ongoing work to develop models of cells of increasing complexity, including human cells.

“Recently, our lab built a computer model that takes every single gene into account for a single cell, but we still have a long way to go before this technology is ready to apply to complex organisms,” said Covert, who works in the Department of Bioengineering, a joint effort of the School of Engineering and the School of Medicine. “The Allen Foundation’s generous award will enable us to solve some of the most critical challenges posed by more complicated cells.”

Read the full announcement on the Stanford Engineering website or watch this video, in which Covert talks about his work.