This was the inaugural year for two new awards given to RNA Society members. These were designed to recognize individuals who have made either a single important discovery in the field of RNA or for an extended portfolio of work on RNA. Eligible recipients must be within the first 10 years (Early Career Award) or within their first 20 years (Mid Career Award) as an independent investigator. Two awardees were chosen in each category for this inaugural year, while future years will have only one in each category. See here for details if you would like to nominate yourself – or someone else. Deadline September 15th, 2017. Photo (from left to right):
Nils Walter (Mid-career awardee) is currently a Professor of Biophysics at University of Michigan. He obtained his PhD in the lab of Manfred Eigen, completed post doctoral work with John Burke, and has been on the University of Michigan faculty since 1999. He has made many contributions to our understanding of the dynamics of RNA reactions, especially the development of novel applications of single molecule spectroscopy for RNA folding, catalysis and splicing. He was nominated for bringing single-molecule methods and other approaches to bear on the study of dynamic processes in RNA. He has been a member of the RNA Society since 1995 and has presented numerous talks at RNA Society meetings. Nils has served as the local organizer for the 2012 meeting in Ann Arbor, as a member of the membership and nominations committee.
Wendy Gilbert (early career awardee) is currently an Associate Professor of Biology at MIT; she will soon be moving her laboratory to Yale University. She earned her PhD in the laboratory of Christine Guthrie and completed her postdoc with Jennifer Doudna. Her research focuses on uncovering new mechanisms of post-transcriptional regulation, through ribosomal proteins and more recently through tRNA and mRNA modifications. She was nominated for ‘paradigm-altering’ contributions to the field of post-transcriptional gene regulation. Wendy has been a member of the RNA Society since 2010. She has served as a co-organizer at the 2016 Kyoto meeting, a session chair at the 2014 Quebec meeting and now serves on the Society’s Board of Directors.
Gene Yeo (early career awardee) is currently a Professor in Cellular and Molecular Medicine, UC San Diego. His PhD was obtained in the laboratories of Tomaso Poggio and Chris Burge and he completed his postdoc with Fred Gage and Sean Eddy. Gene has made many contributions to high-throughput and computational methods that were used to discovering interactions of RBPs in stem cell development and neurogenerative disease. He has been a member of the RNA Society since 2005 and has served as a poster judge as well as a session chair, for the 2014 and 2016 annual RNA Society meetings.
Karla Neugebauer (mid-career award) is currently a Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale. She earned her PhD in the laboratory of Louis Reichardt. She completed postdocs with Mark Roth at the Hutch then went to EMBL in Heidelberg where she worked with Juan Valcarcel. She was a Group Leader at the Max Planck in Dresden (2001-2013) before joining Yale University as a faculty member in 2013.
Karla has done pioneering work on the link between pre-mRNA splicing and transcription, as well as examining the biogenesis of snRNPs. She was nominated for her innovative impact on the links between splicing and transcription, and the biogenesis of snRNPs. Karla has been a member of the RNA Society since 2004. She has served as a faculty advisor to the Junior Scientist Committee, as a member of the Board of Directors (2007-2008), and chaired sessions at the RNA Society annual meetings in 2006, 2008 and 2014.