Announcing Regional Winners and Finalists of the 2013 Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists Competition

Jun 20, 2013, 08:00 ET from The Blavatnik Family Foundation from ,New York Academy of Sciences

NEW YORK, June 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists competition has named seven winners and five finalists in its 2013 regional competition. These exceptional scientists were selected from a pool of more than 160 nominations submitted by 43 research institutions in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. 

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The Blavatnik Awards celebrate innovative and impactful researchers age 42 or younger working in the life sciences, physical sciences, mathematics, and engineering. Faculty winners receive $50,000 and postdoctoral winners receive $30,000; faculty finalists receive $20,000 and postdoctoral finalists receive $10,000. All prizes are awarded as unrestricted funds, and are made possible by the generosity of the Blavatnik Family Foundation. 

"As a postdoc, you are taking responsibility for a significant portion of a lab's work and, at the same time, establishing an independent focus, with an eye toward your first faculty appointment. It is an intense and demanding time. The early years of being a faculty member are equally challenging: it is a make-or-break period where a scientist's core hypotheses are put to the test," says Marc Tessier-Lavigne, President of The Rockefeller University. "The encouragement provided by recognition such as the Blavatnik Awards can be extremely helpful in advancing an investigator's career at these critical junctions."

The Blavatnik Awards competition encompasses applicants across 35 scientific disciplines. The 2013 winners and finalists work in a wide variety of scientific fields.  Those in Faculty positions conduct research in the fields of Computer Science, Condensed Matter Physics, Inorganic Chemistry, Chemical Biology, and Astrophysics. Postdoctoral awardees are advancing the areas of Physiology, Cognitive Neuroscience, Genetics, Nuclear & Particle Physics, Cell Biology, Astrophysics, and Electrical Engineering.

This year marks the seventh anniversary of the Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists competition. Since its launch in 2007, there have been more than 1000 applicants from more than 70 research institutions in the NY tri-state area. 

"We have been so impressed by the quality of applicants throughout the years. Their talent and ground-breaking work is a personal achievement and attests to the strong institutional foundation distinctive to the region. On behalf of the Blavatnik Family Foundation, I congratulate this year's extraordinary young scientists, and look forward to following their future accomplishments," says Len Blavatnik, Founder and Chairman of Access Industries, head of the Blavatnik Family Foundation, and an Academy Board Governor.

Earlier this month, the Blavatnik Awards announced the national expansion of its faculty competition. This expansion is in large part due to the program's tremendous success over the first seven years, and the extraordinary caliber of regional applicants and judges. 

"By starting the Blavatnik Awards in the NY tri-state area, we were able to leverage the incredible scientific ecosystem fostered by the regional academic institutions. It is thanks to their participation that the Blavatnik Awards has earned a reputation as one of the most forward-looking prizes dedicated to the success of young scientists," says Ellis Rubinstein, President and CEO of the New York Academy of Sciences.

"As we move into the next stage — by taking the faculty award national — we will continue to rely on the participation and support of our regional institutional partners to identify the most innovative and impactful researchers in the tri-state area and beyond," adds Rubinstein.

The postdoctoral competition will remain regional — highlighting researchers from institutions in the NY tri-state area. For more information on the regional awards program, visit the webpage.

Winners and finalists of the 2013 competition will be honored at the Academy's 10th annual Science & the City Gala on Monday, November 18th, 2013. This year the focus will be on New York: A Science State of Mind.

The 2013 Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists awardees are:

Faculty Winners

David Blei, Computer Science, Princeton University

Kristjan Haule, Condensed Matter Physics, Rutgers University

Patrick Holland, Inorganic Chemistry, University of Rochester (Moving to Yale University)

Samie Jaffrey, Chemical Biology, Weill Cornell Medical College

Frans Pretorius, Astrophysics, Princeton University

Postdoctoral Winners

Jonathan Fisher, Cognitive Neuroscience, The Rockefeller University (Hudspeth Lab)

Rachel Rosen, Astrophysics, Columbia University (Institute for Strings, Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics)

Postdoctoral Finalists

Bi-Sen Ding, Physiology, Weill Cornell Medical College (Rafii Lab)

Emily Hodges, Genetics & Genomics, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (Hannon Lab)

Mariangela Lisanti, Nuclear & Particle Physics, Princeton University (Princeton Center for Theoretical Science)

Jason MacGurn, Cell Biology, Cornell University (Emr Lab)

Xiankai Sun, Electrical Engineering, Yale University (Tang Lab)

To follow the Blavatnik Awards and receive information on important deadlines, please sign up for the Awards Newsletter.

For interview requests, please contact Marina Blinova (; 212-298-8626). For additional programmatic information, please contact Marley Bauce (; 212-298-8624).

About The Blavatnik Family Foundation

The Blavatnik Family Foundation is an active supporter of leading educational, scientific, cultural, and charitable institutions in the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel, and throughout the world. The Foundation is headed by Len Blavatnik, an American industrialist and philanthropist. Mr. Blavatnik is the founder and Chairman of Access Industries, a privately-held US industrial group with global interests in natural resources and chemicals, media and telecommunications, emerging technologies, life sciences and real estate. For more detailed biographical information on Len Blavatnik or Access Industries, please visit:

About the New York Academy of Sciences

The New York Academy of Sciences is an independent, not-for-profit organization that since 1817 has been committed to advancing science, technology, and society worldwide. With 25,000 members in 140 countries, the Academy is creating a global community of science for the benefit of humanity. The Academy's core mission is to advance scientific knowledge, positively impact the major global challenges of society with science-based solutions, and increase the number of scientifically informed individuals in society at large. Please visit us online at

SOURCE The Blavatnik Family Foundation; New York Academy of Sciences