Hongying (Hoy) Shen has received a 1907 Trailblazer Award for her research into metabolic mechanisms in the brain that might cause mental illness. The award, from the 1907 Foundation, aims to support innovative ideas with high impact potential in our understanding of mental illness through brain and mind research.
Dr. Shen’s laboratory at Yale’s Systems Biology Institute studies cellular metabolism, cell biology and metabolomics to characterize “orphan” metabolic enzymes and transporters encoded in the human genome.
Recent findings in human genetics have implicated dozens of metabolic enzymes of unknown functions in psychiatric disorders.
“Uncovering these unknown metabolic activities could help bridge the knowledge gap at the interface between metabolism and neuroscience, while also holding translational potential to uncover new biochemical bases for brain disorders,” said Shen, who is an assistant professor of Cellular & Molecular Physiology at Yale School of Medicine.
The Shen lab, which is based at Yale’s West Campus, expect their findings to enable novel metabolic approaches for the diagnosis and treatment of a range of psychiatric conditions.
Hoy Shen obtained her Ph.D. from Yale in 2013, where she studied lipid metabolism in endocytic trafficking in the laboratory of Dr. Pietro De Camilli in the Cell Biology and Neuroscience department. She completed her postdoctoral training with Dr. Vamsi Mootha at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School where she developed integrated metabolomics and CRISPR screen approaches to study mitochondrial metabolism. She returned to Yale as a faculty member in 2020.
The 1907 Foundation is a charity that funds medical research for mental health. The annual 1907 Trailblazer Award is granted to promising early career scholars to support innovative ideas with high impact potential.