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ASCB/Annual ASCB Kaluza Prizes Supported by Beckman Coulter

The Winners of the 2014 $5K, $3K, $1K
Kaluza Prizes Are...

Eleanor (Josie) Clowney, a postdoc at Rockefeller University who did her graduate work at the University of California, San Francisco, has been named the winner of the 2014 $5,000 ASCB Kaluza Prize for outstanding research by a graduate student. The Kaluza Prizes are supported by Beckman Coulter. Clowney won for her breakthrough work on olfactory neurons performed in Stavros Lomvardas' lab. Her work provides a new perspective on how acute transcriptional specificity can be achieved through epigenetic mechanisms.

This year two additional winners will receive $3,000 and $1,000. Eunyong Park, now a postdoc at Rockefeller University, won $3,000 for the insights into the mechanism of SecY/Sec61-mediated translocation that he achieved as a graduate student at Harvard University. Jiaxi Wu, a graduate student at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, is the winner of the $1,000 prize for his work on the mechanisms by which DNA triggers innate immune responses, including the discovery that DNA sensing involves a second messenger in eukaryotes and the discovery of the cyclic guanosine monophosphate–adenosine monophosphate synthase cGAS.

The selection committee said Clowney's, Park's, and Wu's research has broad implications for cell biology, and identified the three as future leaders in the field. Seven additional Kaluza finalists were named ASCB Beckman Coulter Distinguished Graduate Student Achievement Prize winners and will receive travel awards and free meeting registration to attend the 2014 ASCB/IFCB Meeting in Philadelphia. All 10 winners and finalists will be recognized at a special presentation just before the Keith R. Porter Lecture on Sunday, December 7 at 6:45 pm. Each will also be invited to give a talk at a new Kaluza Minisymposium on Monday, December 8 from 4:00 pm–6:25 pm.

Top Three Winners

josie$5,000 Winner
Eleanor (Josie) Clowney,

for work done at University of California, San Francisco
$3,000 Winner
Eunyong Park,

for work done at Harvard University
jiaxi$1,000 Winner
Jiaxi Wu,
for work done at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (photo by David Gresham, UTSW)

ASCB Beckman Coulter Distinguished Graduate Student Achievement Prize Winners

Lilian Kabeche,

for uncovering new mechanisms for the regulation of microtubule to kinetochore attachments, including the discovery that cyclin A acts to ensure the proper segregation of chromosomes. Her work was done at Dartmouth College.
Amy Shyer,
for discovering the mechanical mechanism by which villi emerge in the gut during development. She did this work at Harvard Medical School.
vuong Vuong Tran,
for discovering that stem cells retain epigenetic signatures that define their identities and for beginning to elucidate the mechanisms that maintain these epigenetic changes. He did this work at Johns Hopkins University.
Tslil Ast,

for discovering new mechanisms by which proteins translocate into the ER without the standard machinery and discovering an unknown monitoring mechanism for these proteins. She did this work at the Weizmann Institute of Science.
Yali Zhang,
for showing how genes and the environment control food-preferences by discovering how gustatory receptor neurons in fruit flies are affected by a food additive and salt. He did this work at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
James Kraemer,
for solving the structure of a bacteriophage tubulin, PhuZ, which helped him understand the novel architecture and function of this protein that was previously unknown in viruses. His work was done at University of California, San Francisco.
Olga Afonso,
for showing that chromosome separation during the anaphase-telophase transition is actively monitored by an Aurora B phosphorylation gradient. Her work was done at the Institute for Molecular and Cell Biology, Portugal.

In 2014 the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB), in collaboration with Beckman Coulter Life Sciences, is awarding three cash prizes ($5,000, $3,000, and $1,000*) to honor academic excellence in graduate student research. Seven other finalists will receive travel awards to attend the ASCB/IFCB Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, PA, December 6-10. Six of the top 10 finalists will also be invited to speak at a minisymposium supported by Beckman Coulter at the Annual Meeting. The deadline to apply was July 31, 2014.

All applicants must be ASCB members and either current graduate students or researchers who received their PhD within two years of this year's application deadline. Both U.S. and international scientists are welcome to apply. Applicants who applied in 2013 are permitted to apply again.

A selection committee of renowned experts, chaired by ASCB President Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz, will evaluate applications based on the significance and originality of scientific achievements in the broadly defined field of cell biology and basic biological sciences.

In keeping with guidelines from the Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), candidates will be evaluated on the significance of discoveries they have made, not on the impact factor of the journals where results have been published. Candidates are strongly encouraged to articulate clearly and succinctly, in one page or less, what scholarly achievements they are most proud of and why those results could have not been achieved without their specific contribution. Finalists will be asked for a recommendation letter in mid-August.

These prizes are part of a partnership between ASCB and Beckman Coulter Life Sciences to support excellence in science. Both ASCB and Beckman Coulter recognize the challenging times that trainees in biomedical research face. ASCB and Beckman Coulter are both determined to do everything possible to keep from losing the next generation of scientists. Losing the wave of innovation that these young researchers would bring to science would be equivalent to robbing society of its future. The ASCB Kaluza Prizes are a step in a thousand-mile journey that our two organizations want to make together to ensure that science training remains a top priority in the U.S.


2013 Kaluza Prize Winner

• Tina Han

2013 ASCB Beckman Coulter Distinguished Graduate Student Achievement Prize Winners

• Liron Bar-Peled
• Scott Coyle 
• Nathan Derr 
• Wenwen Fang
• Jonathan Friedman
• Ruei-Jiun Hung
• Jessica Polka
• Chung Yiu 
• Jiaxi Wu



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