JHMI Office of Communications and Public Affairs

April 8, 2003

MEDIA CONTACT: Joanna Downer
PHONE: 410-614-5105
E-MAIL: jdowner1@jhmi.edu

Up-and-Comers: Johns Hopkins Marks Contributions of Young Investigators

For the 26th year in a row, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine is celebrating the scientific contributions of students and fellows, and along the way paying tribute to a system of education that consistently nurtures the early stages of future distinguished careers.

Young Investigators' Day each year includes awards to recognize those just beginning their journeys of scientific discovery. This year, 19 of 95 applicants received awards, which carry both prestige and cash prizes. Over the years, hundreds of researchers-in-training have been honored at these celebrations, including several who stayed at or returned to Johns Hopkins as faculty to mentor students and postdocs of their own.

"As always, the overall quality of applications was nothing short of spectacular, and the task of selecting recipients extremely challenging," says Se-Jin Lee, M.D., Ph.D., professor of molecular biology and genetics and chair of this year's 25-member selection committee. "I only wish we could have recognized more of the applicants with awards. Those selected reflect the outstanding work of all of Hopkins' students and fellows."

Kenneth Kinzler, Ph.D., professor of oncology in the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, was the 1988 recipient of the David Israel Macht Research Award. This year one of his graduate students, M.D./Ph.D. candidate Saurabh Saha, was selected to receive one of four Paul Ehrlich Research Awards.

"I couldn't be more proud of Saurabh," says Kinzler. "Mentoring talented young scientists is one of the major benefits of academic science."

At the celebration on April 10, awardees will present their research, which includes work on the 3-D structures of important proteins to new roles for a host of biological molecules, the details of critical cellular processes and signals, and new ways to treat and diagnose cancer and heart disease.

Almost half of the awardees' projects, peer-reviewed and published in major scientific journals, have passed across reporters' desks in news releases, including reports of using bacteria to kill cancer, determining the structure of breast cancer receptor HER2, establishing exercise tests as the best way to detect heart disease in women with no symptoms, and discovering a major antioxidant role for bilirubin. About half of the remaining projects are still in press at major journals.

Funds for awards are provided by the friends, family and colleagues of awards' namesakes and by the Johns Hopkins Medical and Surgical Association, an alumni organization.

This year's student awardees and their respective awards are: Jose Avalos (Paul Ehrlich Research Award), David Barañano (Hans Joaquim Prochaska), Dennis Barbour (David Israel Macht), Yihru Fannjiang (Paul Ehrlich), Joshua Groman (Alicia Showalter Reynolds), Jennifer Hackett (Nupur Dinesh Thekdi), Min Peter Kim (Paul Ehrlich), David Kozono (Ivor and Colette Royston), Seung-Jae Lee (Mette Strand), Joshua Mendell (Michael A. Shanoff), Saurabh Saha (Paul Ehrlich) and Debra Silver (Martin and Carol Macht).

Postdoctoral and clinical fellows receiving awards are: Melissa Burne-Taney (A. McGehee Harvey), James K. Chen (W. Barry Wood), Hyun-Soo Cho (Daniel Nathans), Long Dang (Ivor and Colette Royston), Miho Iijima (Albert Lehninger), Samia Mora (Helen B. Taussig) and Jonathan Terman (Alfred Blalock).

On the Web:

All award recipients, their project titles and advisers:

News releases previously written about awardees' projects:
David Barañano: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/press/2002/November/021125B.htm
Joshua Groman: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/press/2002/October/021014A.htm
Jennifer Hackett: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/press/2001/OCTOBER/011005.htm
Debra Silver: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/press/2002/JANUARY/020110.htm
James K. Chen: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/press/2002/August/020823.htm
Hyun-Soo Cho: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/press/2002/August/020806A.htm
Long H. Dang: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/press/2001/NOVEMBER/011126.htm
Miho Iijima: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/press/2002/MAY/020530.htm
Samia Mora: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/press/2002/MARCH/020319.htm

A history of Young Investigators' Day (written 2002):


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