2013 Blavatnik Awards Honorees

2013 Awardees
(Image source: New York Academy of Sciences Magazine)

Announcing Regional Winners and Finalists of the 2013 Blavatnik Awards CompetitioN


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 young researchers who are making a difference in the fields of 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. They 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,” says Marc Tessier-Lavigne, President of The Rockefeller University. “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. 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 is open to 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 honorees are advancing the areas of physiology, cognitive neuroscience, genetics, nuclear and 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, more than 1,000 young scientists have been nominated from more than 70 research institutions in the New York 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.” 

—Len Blavatnik, Founder and Chairman of Access Industries and head of the Blavatnik Family Foundation

“By starting the Blavatnik Awards in the New York tri-state area, we were able to leverage the incredible scientific ecosystem fostered by the regional academic institutions,” says Ellis Rubinstein, President and CEO of the New York Academy of Sciences. “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.” 

“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 young researchers in the tri-state area and beyond.”

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

The 2013 Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists honorees are:

Faculty Winners

David Blei, Computer Science, Princeton University

Kristjan Haule, Condensed Matter Physics, Rutgers University

Patrick Holland, Inorganic Chemistry, University of Rochester (now at Yale University)

Samie Jaffrey, Chemical Biology, Weill Cornell Medical College

Frans Pretorius, Astrophysics, Princeton University

Postdoctoral Winners

Jonathan Fisher, Cognitive Neuroscience, The Rockefeller University (now at New York Medical College)

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)