Fred Hutch announces 2020 Harold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award recipients

Twelve graduate students selected for prestigious honor in biological sciences
2020 Weintraub Award recipients
2020 Weintraub Award recipients Photo collage by Jeremy Mseitif / Fred Hutch

SEATTLE — March 2, 2020 — Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center has announced the recipients of the 2020 Harold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award, which recognizes outstanding achievement in graduate studies in the biological sciences.

Nominations for this prestigious annual award are solicited internationally. This year’s 12 awardees come from national and international academic institutions including Harvard University, The Medical University of Vienna, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of California, San Francisco. The awardees study a range of biological topics including embryonic cell cycles in flies, genetic diversity and evolution of transmissible canine cancers, and mechanisms of pain and itch in the nervous system.

The Weintraub Award began in 2000 and is now in its 21st year. It’s named for Dr. Harold “Hal” Weintraub, who helped found the Basic Sciences Division at Fred Hutch and died of brain cancer in 1995 at age 49. The award honors Weintraub’s scientific leadership in the field of molecular biology and his legacy as an extraordinary mentor, colleague, collaborator and friend.

“Hal was admired for his scientific rigor and creativity. He frequently asked himself and his colleagues, ‘How do you know that? Why do you believe that?’ until he had defined the borders between knowledge and belief,” said Dr. Stephen Tapscott, a longtime friend and postdoctoral student of Weintraub’s who is now a member of the Human Biology Division at Fred Hutch.

The award is supported by the Fred Hutch Weintraub and Groudine Fund, which was established to foster intellectual exchange through the promotion of programs for graduate students, fellows and visiting scholars. The award includes an honorarium and travel expenses for the recipients to attend a May 1 scientific symposium at the Hutch, where the Weintraub Awards will be bestowed and the recipients will present findings from their research.

“The Weintraub Graduate Student Awards commemorate Hal’s commitment to advancing knowledge and recognizes insightful scientific contributions to our scientific community. The symposium gives the awardees the opportunity to present their work and answer the question ‘How do you know that?’ which will help us all refine our approach to the important questions in science,” Tapscott said.

2020 Harold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award recipients

Adrian Baez-Ortega
Ph.D., biological sciences
University of Cambridge

Lou Beaulieu-Laroche
Ph.D., brain and cognitive sciences
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Andrew Butler
Ph.D., biology
New York University/New York Genome Center

Victoria Deneke
Ph.D., cell biology
Duke University

James Eaglesham
Ph.D., virology
Harvard University

Nandan Gokhale
Ph.D., molecular genetics and microbiology
Duke University

Rose Hill
Ph.D., molecular and cell biology
University of California, Berkeley

Rebecca Moore
Ph.D., molecular biology
Princeton University

Paul Muller
Ph.D., bioscience
Rockefeller University

Anete Romanauska
Ph.D., molecular and cellular biology
Medical University of Vienna

Akanksha Thawani
Ph.D., chemical and biological engineering
Princeton University

Christopher Zimmerman
Ph.D., neuroscience
University of California, San Francisco

Note: Photos of award recipients and more information on their projects are available – contact Molly McElroy for details.

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Media Contact:

Molly McElroy                                                

At Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, home to three Nobel laureates, interdisciplinary teams of world-renowned scientists seek new and innovative ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening diseases. Fred Hutch’s pioneering work in bone marrow transplantation led to the development of immunotherapy, which harnesses the power of the immune system to treat cancer. An independent, nonprofit research institute based in Seattle, Fred Hutch houses the nation’s first cancer prevention research program, as well as the clinical coordinating center of the Women’s Health Initiative and the international headquarters of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network.


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