Sixteen graduate students receive Weintraub awards

Sixteen graduate students from North America and Asia have been chosen to receive the 2006 Harold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award sponsored by the Basic Sciences Division.

The winners include Dr. Benjamin Pinsky, a former graduate student in Dr. Sue Biggens' Lab. Pinsky received his doctorate in molecular and cellular biology in 2005. Currently he is fulfilling medical-school requirements in Tacoma.

"I am extremely honored to receive this award and feel incredibly fortunate to have Sue as my mentor. Though I've been away for about nine months in the world of clinical medicine, there are few things I would enjoy more than coming back to do a few more experiments," Pinsky said.

Nominations for the awards are solicited internationally. Winners are selected on the basis of the quality, originality and significance of their work. The recipients, all advanced students at or near the completion of their studies in the biological sciences, will participate in a scientific symposium May 5-6 at the Center. The symposium will include scientific presentations by the awardees, as well as poster presentations by Center graduate students.

Established in 2000, the award honors Weintraub, a founding member of the Basic Sciences Division, who died in 1995 at age 49 from brain cancer. Weintraub was an international leader in the field of molecular biology. Among his many contributions, he identified genes responsible for instructing cells to differentiate, or develop, into specific tissues such as muscle and bone.

"Hal was one of the most outstanding scientists of his generation, as well as one of the most unpretentious," said Dr. Mark Groudine, the Center's deputy director and a friend and colleague of Weintraub. "He had the knack of identifying the important questions in biology and designing experimental approaches that were creative, simple and elegant."

"By nurturing colleagues, students and postdocs, and helping all of us become better scientists, Hal was instrumental in establishing the collegial atmosphere at the Center. We believe having a symposium recognizing the achievements of young scientists is a great way to honor Hal and the recipients of this award."

Award recipients receive a certificate, travel expenses and an honorarium from the Weintraub and Groudine Fund, established to foster intellectual exchange through the promotion of programs for graduate students, fellows and visiting scholars.

For the complete list of the 2006 Weintraub Graduate Student Award recipients, read the news release.

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