A University of Utah neurobiology researcher, Monica L. Vetter, has been selected as a 1998 Pew Scholar in the biomedical sciences.

She is among 20 of America's most promising biomedical researchers who will each receive $200,000 over four years from the Pew Charitable Trusts to help support their research.The awards, granted to young investigators who show outstanding promise in the basic and clinical sciences, are intended to encourage scholarly innovation in their research.

Vetter, an assistant professor of neurobiology and anatomy in the School of Medicine, is studying development of the retina in her laboratory. "The retina is not only a good model for general understanding of nervous system development, but also is the initial part of the nervous system that processes visual information, which is essential to our ability to see," Vetter said.

Her research concentrates on how the six major cell types in the retina are generated during development. Although scientists know quite a bit about the functional properties of these cell types, little is known about how these cells are generated during development. She is interested in cellular diversity and is studying a class of proteins that regulates important decisions in development of these cells.

Vetter received her undergraduate degree from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and her doctorate in neuroscience from the University of California-San Francisco, where she completed postdoctoral studies before joining the U. faculty in 1996.