News: 2013 Blavatnik Awards honorees

Announcing Regional Winners and Finalists of the 2013 Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists Competition

Seven winners and five finalists named as awardees.

Source: New York Academy of Sciences Magazine

Posted on 6/20/2013



NEW YORK, June 20, 2013—The Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists competition has named seven winners and five finalists in its 2013 regional competition. These exceptional scientists were selected from a pool of more than 160 nominations submitted by 43 research institutions in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.


The Blavatnik Awards celebrate innovative and impactful researchers age 42 or younger working in the life sciences, physical sciences, mathematics, and engineering. Faculty winners receive $50,000 and postdoctoral winners receive $30,000; faculty finalists receive $20,000 and postdoctoral finalists receive $10,000. All prizes are awarded as unrestricted funds, and are made possible by the generosity of the Blavatnik Family Foundation.


"As a postdoc, you are taking responsibility for a significant portion of a lab's work and, at the same time, establishing an independent focus, with an eye toward your first faculty appointment. It is an intense and demanding time. The early years of being a faculty member are equally challenging: it is a make-or-break period where a scientist's core hypotheses are put to the test," says Marc Tessier-Lavigne [], President of The Rockefeller University. "The encouragement provided by recognition such as the Blavatnik Awards can be extremely helpful in advancing an investigator's career at these critical junctions."


The Blavatnik Awards competition encompasses applicants across 35 scientific disciplines. The 2013 winners and finalists work in a wide variety of scientific fields. Those in Faculty positions conduct research in the fields of Computer Science, Condensed Matter Physics, Inorganic Chemistry, Chemical Biology, and Astrophysics. Postdoctoral awardees are advancing the areas of Physiology, Cognitive Neuroscience, Genetics, Nuclear & Particle Physics, Cell Biology, Astrophysics, and Electrical Engineering.


This year marks the seventh anniversary of the Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists competition. Since its launch in 2007, there have been more than 1,000 applicants from more than 70 research institutions in the NY tri-state area.

"We have been so impressed by the quality of applicants throughout the years. Their talent and ground-breaking work is a personal achievement and attests to the strong institutional foundation distinctive to the region. On behalf of the Blavatnik Family Foundation, I congratulate this year's extraordinary young scientists, and look forward to following their future accomplishments," says Len Blavatnik, Founder and Chairman of Access Industries and head of the Blavatnik Family Foundation.


"By starting the Blavatnik Awards in the NY tri-state area, we were able to leverage the incredible scientific ecosystem fostered by the regional academic institutions. It is thanks to their participation that the Blavatnik Awards has earned a reputation as one of the most forward-looking prizes dedicated to the success of young scientists," says Ellis Rubinstein, President and CEO of the New York Academy of Sciences.


"As we move into the next stage—by taking the faculty award national—we will continue to rely on the participation and support of our regional institutional partners to identify the most innovative and impactful researchers in the tri-state area and beyond," adds Rubinstein.


Winners and finalists of the 2013 competition will be honored at the Academy's 10th annual Science & the City Gala [] on Monday, November 18th, 2013. This year the focus will be on New York: A Science State of Mind.


The 2013 Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists awardees are:


Faculty Winners


David Blei [  ], Computer Science, Princeton University


Kristjan Haule    [ ], Condensed Matter Physics, Rutgers University


Patrick Holland [ ] , Inorganic Chemistry, University of Rochester (Moving to Yale University)


Samie Jaffrey [ ] , Chemical Biology, Weill Cornell Medical College


Frans Pretorius  [ ], Astrophysics, Princeton University


Postdoctoral Winners


Jonathan Fisher [  ] , Cognitive Neuroscience, The Rockefeller University (Hudspeth Lab)


Rachel Rosen  [  ], Astrophysics, Columbia University (Institute for Strings, Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics)


Postdoctoral Finalists


Bi-Sen Ding, Physiology, Weill Cornell Medical College (Rafii Lab) []


Emily Hodges , Genetics & Genomics, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (Hannon Lab)[]


Mariangela Lisanti  [ ], Nuclear & 

Particle Physics, Princeton University (Princeton Center for Theoretical Science) []


Jason MacGurn, Cell Biology, Cornell University (Emr Lab) []


Xiankai Sun, Electrical Engineering, Yale University (Tang Lab)[]


Read more about the 2013 winners and finalists. [link to the 2013 Awardees page]