Recent Highlights from our
Exceptional Women Scientists
Elaine Fuchs awarded Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Science
Biologist Elaine Fuchs has been awarded a 2023 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Science, one of the oldest and most most venerable honors in the United States. First presented by The Franklin Institute in 1824, the Benjamin Franklin Medals annually recognize nine individuals for outstanding achievements in science, engineering, and business leadership. Fuchs will receive her award at a ceremony to be held at The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia on April 27.
Lamia Wahba joins Rockefeller faculty
Biologist Lamia Wahba joined Rockefeller in January as a tenure-track assistant professor heading the new Laboratory of Non-canonical Modes of Inheritance. Dr. Wahba has discovered that small molecules called piRNAs can be passed from one generation to the next, revealing a previously unsuspected way in which biological traits can be inherited without DNA. Her work on non-genetic inheritance will lead to better understanding of disease states while revealing new targets for therapeutic discovery. Dr. Wahba earned her Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University and conducted postdoctoral research at Stanford University.
Begüm Aydin awarded HHMI Hanna Gray Fellowship
Postdoctoral fellow Begüm Aydin was among a cohort of 25 exceptional early-career researchers from across the country named HHMI 2022 Hanna Gray Fellows. This esteemed fellowship provides up to eight years of financial support and is designed to increase diversity in science by recruiting and retaining early career scientists from underrepresented groups in the life sciences.
Josefina del Mármol named Blavatnik Regional Award Winner
Josefina del Mármol, a former Women & Science postdoctoral fellow in the Ruta Lab, was named the 2022 Blavatnik Regional Award Winner in the life sciences category. During her time at Rockefeller, Dr. del Mármol helped solve the structure of an odor receptor by utilizing cryo-electron microscopy. This research has led to the first-ever molecular views of an olfactory receptor at work. She is now an assistant professor running her own lab at Harvard Medical School.
Viviana Risca received NIH Director’s New Innovator Award
Viviana Risca was a 2022 recipient of a prestigious NIH Director’s New Innovator Award for her unique biophysical approach to understanding how different chromatin states regulate transcription. The New Innovator Awards support exceptionally creative early career investigators who propose innovative, high-impact projects. Dr. Risca is the eleventh Rockefeller scientist in the past fifteen years to receive this coveted award. Previous recipients include Priya Rajasethupathy in 2017 and Vanessa Ruta in 2013.
Vanessa Ruta promoted to full Professor
In June 2022, Rockefeller alumna (‘05) and head of lab Vanessa Ruta was promoted to full professor with tenure. Dr. Ruta, now the Gabrielle H. Reem and Herbert J. Kayden Professor, investigates the molecular and neural mechanisms of adaptive behavior. Dr. Ruta has been recognized with several prestigious honors, including a 2019 MacArthur Fellowship, colloquially known as a “genius grant,” and an HHMI investigator appointment in 2021. At Rockefeller, she also serves as co-director of the newly established Price Family Center for the Social Brain.
Ekaterina Vinogradova received Damon Runyon-Rachleff Innovation Award
Ekaterina Vinogradova is one of six recipients of the 2022 Damon Runyon-Rachleff Innovation Award. Dr. Vinogradova’s research on how the lung tumor microenvironment suppresses immune responses has the potential to guide new therapeutic strategies for cancer patients. The Innovation Award supports “high-risk, high-reward” ideas with the potential to significantly impact the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of cancer. Since joining Rockefeller in 2021, Dr. Vinogradova has received a Searle Scholar Award, and Chemical & Engineering News named her one of its “Talented 12” for 2021.
Li Zhao and Mandë Holford named Allen Distinguished Investigators
Assistant professor Li Zhao and alumna Mandë Holford (‘03), now an associate professor at CUNY Hunter College, were named Allen Distinguished Investigators for their project on the origin, evolution, and dynamics of micropeptides in the immune system. The Allen Distinguished Investigator program supports cutting-edge, early-stage research that promises to advance the fields of biology and medicine.