Skip to main content

Press Release

Stowers Institute appoints new Principal Investigator

Kamena Kostova, Ph.D., a molecular biologist from Carnegie Science, will open her lab at the Stowers Institute in Fall 2024.

30 April 2024

KANSAS CITY, MO—April 30, 2024—The Stowers Institute for Medical Research announces the appointment of Kamena Kostova, Ph.D., as its newest Principal Investigator. Kostova, an accomplished cellular and molecular biologist, will join the Institute as an Assistant Investigator in Fall 2024.

Kostova is currently an Independent Fellow at Carnegie's Biosphere Sciences and Engineering Division in Baltimore, Maryland.

The Kostova Lab seeks to uncover how complex conditions such as cancer and neurodegeneration first begin by studying biological processes within the parts of our cells that produce proteins. Kostova’s team hopes to unlock new insights into how we could one day better treat and potentially prevent such diseases.

"We are delighted to welcome and count Dr. Kamena Kostova as our newest Principal Investigator at the Stowers Institute,” said Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado, Ph.D., President and Chief Scientific Officer of the Stowers Institute. “Her expertise and commitment to scientific innovation add meaningfully and tangibly to the Institute’s mission to uncover fundamental principles of biology with the goal of one day contributing to the understanding of human disease.”

During her time at Carnegie, Kostova received the prestigious Director’s Early Independence Award from the National Institutes of Health in 2019. This accolade recognized Kostova as one of the nation's "exceptional junior scientists," providing her the opportunity to bypass traditional postdoctoral training and transition directly into her own research lab.

Kamena Kostova, Ph.D., will open her lab Fall 2024.

“The appointment of Kamena further enhances the Institute’s robust team of Investigators, each exploring bold topics in the biological life sciences,” Sánchez Alvarado said. “She joins three other new Investigators recently appointed to the Institute within the past year, recruited from MIT, Princeton, and NYU. Together, this new class of early-career scientists solidifies our commitment to attracting the best and brightest in their fields.”

Kostova’s research is centered around a key component of the cell – the ribosome – a molecular machine inside a cell responsible for creating proteins.

“One aspect of my lab’s research explores changes to ribosomes that often accompany human diseases such as cancer and neurodegeneration,” Kostova explained. “We’ve identified a new class of defects, and we’re investigating how these broken ribosomes can ultimately facilitate disease initiation and progression.”

“Kamena’s research is attempting to fill important gaps in our knowledge surrounding human health and disease,” said Stowers Institute Scientific Director Kausik Si, Ph.D. “The Institute’s mission is to uncover the secrets of life and Kamena’s work goes to the heart of this secret.”

Originally from Bulgaria, Kostova’s passion for science stems from the boundless curiosity surrounding unanswered questions in the field.

"Science offers endless opportunities for exploration and discovery that can truly make an impact on people’s lives. I am excited to embark on this journey at the Stowers Institute," she shared.

About the Stowers Institute for Medical Research

Founded in 1994 through the generosity of Jim Stowers, founder of American Century Investments, and his wife, Virginia, the Stowers Institute for Medical Research is a non-profit, biomedical research organization with a focus on foundational research. Its mission is to expand our understanding of the secrets of life and improve life’s quality through innovative approaches to the causes, treatment, and prevention of diseases.

The Institute consists of 21 independent research programs. Of the approximately 500 members, over 370 are scientific staff that include principal investigators, technology center directors, postdoctoral scientists, graduate students, and technical support staff. Learn more about the Institute at and about its graduate program at

Media Contact:
Joe Chiodo, Head of Media Relations

Newsletter & Alerts