Fred Hutch announces 2021 Harold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award recipients

Thirteen graduate students selected for prestigious honor in biological sciences
Collage of award recipients and DNA strand
Photos of award recipients Jeremy Mseitif

SEATTLE —March 1, 2021 — Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center today announced the recipients of the 2021 Harold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award, which recognizes outstanding achievement in graduate studies in the biological sciences. The 13 award recipients were selected for the quality, originality and significance of their work, representing a diverse range of research topics.

Nominations for this prestigious annual award are solicited internationally. This year’s awardees come from across the U.S. — from the University of California, Los Angeles to the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center to Harvard University — and three international recipients from the University of Basel, Switzerland, the University of St. Andrews, UK, and the Institute of Science and Technology, Austria. The awardees study a range of biological topics including adoptive immune cell transfer, gene expression regulation, inter-brain neural dynamics and tumor cell interactions that increase cancer spread.

The Weintraub Award began in 2000 and is now in its 22nd 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 Weintraub/Groudine Fellowship for Science and Human Disease, which was established to foster intellectual exchange through the promotion of programs for graduate students, fellows and visiting scholars.

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

2021 Harold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award recipients:

Amin Aalipour
Ph.D., bioengineering
Stanford University

Januka Athukoralage
Ph.D., biology
University of St. Andrews

Lindsay P. Cameron
Ph.D., neuroscience
University of California, Davis

Grace Johnson
Ph.D., biology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Lyle Kingsbury
Ph.D., neuroscience
University of California, Los Angeles

Malinda J. McPherson
Ph.D., brain and cognitive sciences
Harvard University

Dasha Elena Nelidova
Ph.D., neurobiology
University of Basel, Switzerland

Shayan Shamipour
Ph.D., cellular biology
Institute of Science and Technology, Austria

Eric Hoyeon Song
Ph.D., immunobiology
Yale University

Katherine Susa
Ph.D., chemical biology
Harvard Medical School

Mengni Wang
Ph.D., neuroscience
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Emma Wren
Ph.D., molecular and cellular biology
University of Washington/Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Lynn Yap
Ph.D., neurobiology/neuroscience
Harvard University

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

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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 National Cancer Institute-funded cancer prevention research program, as well as the clinical coordinating center of the COVID-19 Prevention Network and the Women’s Health Initiative.

Molly McElroy