Announcing the Winners and Finalists of the 2016 Blavatnik Regional Awards for Young Scientists

2016 National Winners

NEW YORK – The Blavatnik Family Foundation and the New York Academy of Sciences today announced the three winners and six finalists of the 2016 Blavatnik Regional Awards. The winners include an ecologist who has advanced our understanding of how forest ecosystems recover or die during drought; a physical chemist who studies electron transport in solar energy capture and conversion; and a condensed matter physicist who has provided theoretical guidance to experiments that have led to the direct observation of Majorana fermions. The six finalists perform pioneering research in diverse areas including astrophysics, engineering, biochemistry and structural biology, molecular and cellular biology, theoretical chemistry, and biomedical engineering.

Established in 2007, the Awards are given annually by the Blavatnik Family Foundation and administered by the New York Academy of Sciences to honor the excellence of outstanding postdoctoral scientists from institutions across New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Three winners and six finalists are chosen from the fields of Life Sciences, Chemistry, and Physical Sciences and Engineering. Each winner is awarded $30,000, and each finalist receives a $10,000 prize.

"As we enter the tenth year of the Blavatnik Regional Awards, we can look back and see how the awards have helped promote the development of so many promising and brilliant scientific careers," says Len Blavatnik, Founder and Chairman of Access Industries, head of the Blavatnik Family Foundation, and an Academy Board Governor. "This year's winners and finalists are equally exceptional. We look forward to hearing about the breakthrough discoveries they will make in the coming years."

The 2016 Blavatnik Regional Awards received 125 outstanding nominations from 24 academic and research institutions in the New York tri-state area. Winners and finalists were selected by a distinguished jury of senior scientists and engineers.

"Every year we receive nominations for an outstanding group of young scientists and engineers. It is extremely difficult to select finalists and winners. All have exhibited exceptional curiosity, innovation and made impressive discoveries during their tenure as postdocs," says Blavatnik Awards jury member Dr. Charles Rice, Maurice R. and Corinne P. Greenberg Professor in Virology at The Rockefeller University and a recipient of the 2016 Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award. "Their futures are bright and we look forward to following their remarkable trajectories as they realize their full potential. It is important to recognize, support and encourage this inspiring next generation."

2016 Blavatnik Regional Award Winners

Life Sciences

William Anderegg, Princeton University (now at University of Utah)


Tomoyasu Mani, Brookhaven National Laboratory (now at University of Connecticut)

Physical Sciences & Engineering

Jian Li, Princeton University

2016 Blavatnik Regional Award Finalists

Life Sciences

Kate Meyer, Weill Cornell Medical College (now at Duke University)
Rachel Perry, Yale University


Matthieu Gagnon, Yale University
Kuang Yu, Princeton University (now at D.E. Shaw Research)

Physical Sciences & Engineering

Xi Chen, Columbia University (now at CUNY Advanced Science Research Center and The City College of New York)
Eli Visbal, Columbia University (now at Center for Computational Astrophysics, Simons Foundation)

2016 Blavatnik Regional Awards winners and finalists will be honored at the Academy's 13th annual Gala at the Conrad Hotel in New York on November 7, 2016.

To follow the progress of the Blavatnik Awards, please visit the Awards website (, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@BlavatnikAwards). For media requests, please contact Dennis Tartaglia (; 732-545-1848) or the Blavatnik Awards staff (; 212-298-8624).


About the Blavatnik Family Foundation

The Blavatnik Family Foundation is an active supporter of leading educational, scientific, cultural, and charitable institutions in the United States, Europe, and throughout the world. The Foundation is headed by Len Blavatnik, an American industrialist and philanthropist. Mr. Blavatnik is the founder and Chairman of Access Industries, a privately-held U.S. industrial group with global interests in natural resources and chemicals, media and telecommunications, real estate, technology and e-commerce. For more detailed information, please visit:

About the New York Academy of Sciences

The New York Academy of Sciences is an independent, not-for-profit organization that since 1817 has been committed to advancing science, technology, and society worldwide. With more than 20,000 members in 100 countries around the world, the Academy is creating a global community of science for the benefit of humanity. The Academy's core mission is to advance scientific knowledge, positively impact the major global challenges of society with science-based solutions, and increase the number of scientifically informed individuals in society at large. Please visit us online at