The 2010 Awards

Congratulations to the
2010 winners
The GE & Science Prize for Young Life Scientists supports and rewards promising young scientists in their research in the field of molecular biology. Since 1995, the Prize has been awarded to over 81 winners from around the world.

Grand prize: Mark Bates, born in Toronto Canada, received a B.Sc. degree in engineering physics from Queen’s University, and an M.Sc. degree in physics from McGill University.

Dr. Bates conducted his doctoral research at Harvard University, working under the guidance of Xiaowei Zhuang. “Our method uses light to probe the smallest structural details of biological specimens … our goal is to enable researchers to see new aspects of life which have previously been hidden from view,” explains Dr. Bates. “Continued development may lead to applications such as improved clinical diagnoses that more accurately identify (for example) cancerous cells.” Mark is now a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Stefan Hell in Göttingen, Germany, where he is applying super-resolution fluorescence microscopy to study prokaryotic cell biology.

» See film with Mark Bates

Melissa Fullwood was born and raised in Singapore. She studied at Stanford University, and graduated in 2005 with a Bachelor of Science degree with Honors, Distinction and Phi Beta Kappa

She completed her Ph. D. in 2009 at the Genome Institute of Singapore where she was supervised by Professor Yijun Ruan. Dr. Fullwood is currently a Lee Kuan Yew Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore. Fullwood wanted to address the “top 25 unanswered questions in biology” published in a 2005 issue of Science. “My Ph.D. project demonstrated that there is an abundant, complex network of chromatin interaction between genes and non coding regions of the genome,” Dr. Fullwood said. “Chromatin interactions could also be of clinical significance as biomarkers of diseases such as cancer, for example through facilitating disease causing translocations, or aberrant regulation of oncogenes and tumor suppressors.”

» See film with Melissa Fullwood

Ataman Sendoel was born in Zurich, Switzerland. He studied medicine at the Universities of Zurich and Lausanne. After finishing medical school, he entered the postgraduate program in experimental medicine and biology in Zurich.

To further pursue science, he then joined the MD-PhD program of the University of Zurich. He conducted his Ph.D. work in the laboratory of Prof. Michael Hengartner, where he studied mechanisms of controlling programmed cell death in C. elegans. Dr. Sendoel is currently a postdoctoral fellow and continues to work on hypoxia responses in C. elegans. Dr. Sendoel is looking at novel targets to treat melanoma. “My long-term plans are to continue to work on apoptosis in the context of tumor biology and … to bring new, intriguing scientific discoveries and new therapeutic strategies back to the bedside,” explains Dr. Sendoel.

» See film with Ataman Sendoel

Sakiko Honjoh was born in Yokohama, an old port town, in Japan. In high school, her imagination was captured by a biology teacher who introduced her to the mechanism of chromosome replication, the chromosome end replication problem, and telomere structures.

This so impressed her that she decided to major in molecular biology, and entered Kyoto University. Dr. Honjoh then completed her Ph.D. in the laboratory of Eisuke Nishida at Graduate School of Biostudies, Kyoto University, working on the signal transduction networks that regulate life span. She is continuing her work in the same lab, still trying to elucidate the molecular changes that occur during aging. “Restriction of food intake … is the most effective way to delay aging and extend life span in divergent species including mammals,” writes Dr. Honjoh. “Before I began to study aging, I thought aging is inevitable and inalterable, so it was a great surprise that the rate at which we age can be modified.”

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