2023 Elisa Izaurralde Award for Innovation in Research, Teaching, and Service Winner
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The Elisa Izaurralde Award for Innovation in Research, Teaching, and Service recognizes an RNA scientist who holds an independent research position, completed their PhD 5-15 years ago, and who has demonstrated an innovative mindset or approach in the areas of research, teaching, and/or service. The 2023 awardee is Dr. Amanda Hargrove, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Duke University. "Dr. Hargrove obtained her PhD from the University of Texas at Austin based on studies in the laboratories of Drs. Eric Anslyn and Jonathan Sessler to improve recognition and sensing of carbohydrates and phosphorylated molecules, including a collaboratory project with Dr. Andy Ellington. As a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Peter Dervan at the California Institute of Technology, Dr. Hargrove focused on developing pyrrole-imidazole polyamides, compounds that bind sequence-specifically to DNA, to disrupt cancer gene expression. As an independent investigator at Duke, Dr. Hargrove applies her training in physical and synthetic organic chemistry (with expertise in molecular recognition of carbohydrates and DNA) to develop novel therapeutics in the targeting of noncoding RNAs important during cancer metastasis. Dr. Hargrove is considered one of the international leaders in the field of small molecule-RNA interactions and has led the way to demystify the determinants for molecular recognition by RNA in the rational design of RNA therapeutics. Dr. Hargrove is also widely recognized for her innovative research program, highly collaborative approach, and rigorous (but supportive) mentoring style. Dr. Hargrove has been a member of the RNA society since 2015. Dr Hargrove has developed and implemented a research-based freshman seminar coursewhere undergraduate students are captured early by the wonder of RNA, an established intervention for increasing STEM retention of students from historically excluded groups. Dr. Hargrove has served as Director of Diversity, Inclusion and Community in her department and is co-PI of a grant entitled “Moving the Dial” with the goal of improving the culture of STEM departments through diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice.