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Awards and Honors

Rockefeller postdoc, Luka Mesin, named a Blavatnik Regional Award Finalist

Luka Mesin portrait

Credit: Blavatnik Awards/New York Academy of Sciences

Luka Mesin, a research associate in the Victora Lab, has been named a Blavatnik Regional Award Finalist in the life sciences category. An immunologist by training, Mesin is innovating techniques to better understand how B cells in the immune system mature and evolve to create antibodies to fight off pathogens—work that is of particular relevance as new variants of COVID-19 emerge.

During either infection or immunization, the body gets to work recruiting specific B cells based on their antibody’s ability to bind tightly to a pathogen, in turn neutralizing the invader. Mesin’s research revealed that the immune system invests heavily in the evolution of B cells that help produce these strongly binding antibodies, and likewise that immunization can result in the selection of B cells that produce weakly binding antibodies. This helps explain why developing universal flu vaccines has been so challenging thus far. Overall, having a diversity of B-cell selection prepares the immune system to fight mutated versions of a pathogen.

The Blavatnik Regional Awards are a prestigious honor specifically for postdoctoral scientists from academic research institutions across New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. The Blavatnik Family Foundation and the New York Academy of Sciences announced the winners earlier today.

“These young scientists are working at the forefront of science and technology in the New York area, one of the most dynamic and innovative scientific regions in the world. We proudly salute their academic excellence and await their many future scientific achievements,” said Len Blavatnik, founder and chairman of Access Industries, head of the Blavatnik Family Foundation, and member of the President’s Council of the New York Academy of Sciences.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Blavatnik Regional Awards Winners and Finalists will be honored at the 2022 New York Academy of Sciences Annual Gala.

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Katherine Fenz
Media Relations Manager


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