Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center announces 2009 Harold M. Weintraub graduate student awardees

SEATTLE — March 2 — Thirteen graduate students from North America have been chosen to receive the 2009 Harold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award sponsored by the Basic Sciences Division of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Nominations were solicited internationally; the winners were 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 1 at the Hutchinson Center. The symposium will include scientific presentations by the awardees as well as poster presentations by Hutchinson Center graduate students.

The award, established in 2000, honors the late Harold M. Weintraub, Ph.D., a founding member of the Center’s Basic Sciences Division, who in 1995 died from brain cancer at age 49. 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. Hal had the knack of identifying the important questions in biology and designing experimental approaches that were creative, simple and elegant," said Mark Groudine, M.D., Ph.D., deputy director the Hutchinson Center and a former friend and colleague of Weintraub.

"By nurturing colleagues, students and postdocs, and helping all of us become better scientists, Hal was instrumental in establishing the collegial atmosphere at the Hutchinson 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," said Groudine, who was instrumental in establishing the award.

The award recipients will 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.

Editor’s note: A complete list of 2009 Weintraub awardees follows. To receive a research summary and CV of any of the recipients, please contact Carol Insalaco, Media Relations assistant, (206) 667-5469 or <>. Digital photos of most of the awardees are available as well. 

2009 Harold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award Recipients

Albert Einstein College of Medicine (New York, N.Y.)

  • Susmita Kaushik (Hometown: New Delhi, India)
    Ph.D. candidate, Department of Developmental and Molecular Biology

Dartmouth College (Hanover, N.H.)

  • Peter Belenky (Hometown: Newton, Mass.)
    Ph.D. candidate, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Department of Biochemistry

Emory University (Atlanta, Ga.)

  • J. Muse Davis (Hometown: Starkville, Miss.)
    M.D./Ph.D. candidate, Immunology and Molecular Pathogenesis Program/School of Medicine

Harvard Medical School (Boston, Mass.)

  • Srinivas Viswanathan (Hometown: Tenafly, N.J.)
    M.D./Ph.D. candidate, Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology (BCMP)

Johns Hopkins School of Medicine (Baltimore, Md.)

  • Dengke Ma (Hometown: Hunan, China)
    Ph.D. candidate, The Solomon H. Snyder Department of Neuroscience
  • Jared Parker (Hometown: Florala, Ala.)
    Ph.D. candidate, Biophysics and Biophysical Chemistry

Rockefeller University (New York, N.Y.)

  • Nadya Dimitrova (Hometown: Sofia, Bulgaria)
    Ph.D. candidate, The Rockefeller University

University of California, Berkeley (Berkeley, Calif.)

  • Walter Fischler (Hometown: San Juan, Puerto Rico)
    Ph.D. candidate, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology

University of California, San Francisco (San Francisco, Calif.)

  • Kay Tye (Hometown: Ithaca, N.Y.)
    Ph.D. in neuroscience awarded in 2008

University of Massachusetts Medical School (Worcester, Mass.)

  • Marcus Noyes (Hometown: Blaine, Minn.)
    Ph.D. candidate, Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology Department

University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, Mich.)

  • Mark Kiel (Hometown: Grand Rapids, Mich.)
    M.D./Ph.D. candidate, Cell and Developmental Biology/School of Medicine

University of Rochester (Rochester, N.Y.)

  • Nitin Phadnis (Hometown: Pune, India)
    Ph.D. in biology awarded in 2008

University of Washington (Seattle, Wash.)

  • Wen-Hui Lien (Hometown: Taipei, Taiwan)
    Ph.D. candidate, Molecular and Cellular Biology Program

Kristen Woodward
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
(206) 667-5095

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