Caption: One of the many faces of NIH-supported innovation, Stanford’s Christina Smolke is exploring how synthetic biology and microbes can be used to produce new drugs. She is a 2012 Pioneer Award winner. Credit: Linda Cicero/Stanford News Service
High-risk research isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s for fearless researchers who envision and develop innovative projects with unconventional approaches that, if successful, may yield great leaps in our understanding of health problems and/or biological mechanisms. It takes nerve and creativity to conceive such projects—and, often, special support to bring them to fruition. And, as the name implies, there is a significant chance of failure.