Fred Hutch announces 2023 Harold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award recipients

Twelve graduate students from around the U.S. selected for prestigious award in biological sciences

SEATTLE — March 1, 2023 — Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center has announced 12 recipients of the 2023 Harold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award, which recognizes exceptional achievement in graduate studies in the biological sciences.

This year’s recipients come from universities around the U.S. and study a range of topics, such as how the sense of smell develops, new technologies for gene editing, stem cell and machine learning approaches to human heart development and the molecules underlying tissue inflammation.

“The 12 recipients of this year’s Weintraub graduate student award are as outstanding as ever,” said Dr. Susan Parkhurst, who leads the award committee and is a professor in the Basic Sciences Division at Fred Hutch. “Despite challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic that this year’s nominees inevitably faced, their resilience and creativity shown through. We commend the awardees for their extraordinary contributions to science.”

The recipients will be honored at a symposium May 5 at Fred Hutch.

The Weintraub Award began in 2000, and in the 24 years of its existence it has been given to a total of 327 awardees including this year’s recipients.

The award is named for Dr. Harold “Hal” Weintraub, a molecular biologist 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 and his legacy as an extraordinary mentor, colleague, collaborator and friend.

Each year the Basic Sciences Division solicits nominations internationally from graduate students at or near completion of their studies in the biological sciences. Applicants are chosen for the quality, originality and significance of their research.

“Hal believed strongly in nurturing students, postdocs and colleagues,” said Dr. Stephen Tapscott, a professor in the Human Biology Division at Fred Hutch and a former postdoctoral student of Weintraub’s. “The Weintraub award continues Hal’s legacy in training early career scientists and his commitment to innovative science.”

The award is supported by Fred Hutch’s Weintraub/Groudine Fellowship for Science and Human Disease, which was established to foster intellectual exchange through programs for graduate students, fellows and visiting scholars.

2023 Harold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award recipients:

Maria Ahmed
Ph.D., molecular, cellular and developmental biology
University of Michigan

Saket Bagde
Ph.D., biochemistry, molecular and cell Biology
Cornell University

Francisco Galdos
Ph.D., stem cell and regenerative medicine
Stanford University

King Hung
Ph.D., cancer biology
Stanford University

Kathleen Morrill
Ph.D., neuroscience
UMass Chan Medical School

Lila Neahring
Ph.D., developmental and stem cell biology
University of California, San Francisco

Megan Okada
Ph.D., biochemistry
University of Utah

Aditya Raguram
Ph.D., chemical biology
Harvard University

Rafael Rivera-Lugo
Ph.D., molecular and cell biology
University of California, Berkeley

Alexandra Schnell
Ph.D., immunology
Harvard University

Rachael Workman Sparklin
Ph.D., biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Roger Zou
Ph.D., biomedical engineering
Johns Hopkins University

Media contact:
Molly McElroy

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Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center unites comprehensive care and advanced research to provide the latest cancer treatment options and accelerate discoveries that prevent, treat and defeat cancer and infectious diseases worldwide.

Based in Seattle, Fred Hutch is an independent, nonprofit organization and the only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center in Washington. We have earned a global reputation for our track record of discoveries in cancer, infectious disease and basic research, including important advances in bone marrow transplantation, HIV/AIDS prevention, immunotherapy and COVID-19 vaccines. Fred Hutch operates eight clinical care sites that provide medical oncology, infusion, radiation, proton therapy and related services and has network affiliations with hospitals in four states. Fred Hutch also serves as UW Medicine’s cancer program.

Please note that our organization was renamed Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in April 2022, following the merger of long-time partners, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.