Newswise — SEATTLE — March 1, 2024 — Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center announced 12 recipients of the 2024 Harold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award, which recognizes exceptional achievement in graduate studies in the biological sciences.

This year’s recipients come from U.S. and international research institutions with thesis topics that include brain signals related to learning and emotion, bacterial pathogens and health, AI algorithms in rare disease diagnosis and treatment, and immune cells involved in brain tumors.

“Weintraub awardees showcase how scientists are using advancements in technology to explore questions that have been out of reach,” said Jihong Bai, Ph.D., who co-leads the awards committee with Susan Parkhurst, Ph.D., both of whom are professors in Fred Hutch’s Basic Sciences Division. Parkhurst holds the Mark Groudine Chair for Outstanding Achievements in Science and Service at Fred Hutch.

Bai added, “That is the most fun part of the Weintraub award, to see the innovation and creativity in the next generation of scientists.”

Award recipients will be honored at a symposium May 3 at Fred Hutch.

Named for Dr. Harold “Hal” Weintraub, a molecular biologist who helped found the Basic Sciences Division at Fred Hutch and died of brain cancer in 1995 at age 49. Including this year’s recipients, the award has been given to 339 graduate students since its inception in 2000. The award honors Weintraub’s scientific leadership and his legacy as an extraordinary mentor, colleague, collaborator and friend.

Each year Fred Hutch’s Basic Sciences Division solicits nominations internationally from graduate students at or near completion of their studies in the biological sciences. Applicants are chosen for the quality, originality and significance of their research.

“As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Weintraub graduate student award, I particularly remember the energy and creativeness that Hal brought to science and the scientists around him,” said Stephen Tapscott, M.D., Ph.D., a professor in the Human Biology Division at Fred Hutch and a former postdoctoral fellow of Weintraub’s. “I extend my congratulations to this year’s recipients, and I welcome them to the role all Weintraub awardees have in continuing Hal’s legacy in innovative and creative science.”

The award is supported by Fred Hutch’s Weintraub/Groudine Fellowship for Science and Human Disease, which was established to foster intellectual exchange through programs for graduate students, fellows and visiting scholars.

2024 Harold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award recipients:

Tatsat Banerjee
Ph.D., Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Johns Hopkins University

Daniel Cardozo Pinto
Ph.D., Interdepartmental Neurosciences
Stanford University

Peiwei Chen
Ph.D., Biology
California Institute of Technology

Olivia Harringmeyer
Ph.D., Biophysics
Harvard University

Erin Huiting
Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences
University of California, San Francisco

Emily Kibby
Ph.D., Biochemistry
University of Colorado, Boulder

Michelle Li
Ph.D., Biomedical Informatics
Harvard University

Bingxu Liu
Ph.D., Biology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Sofia Lövestam
Ph.D., MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology
University of Cambridge

Roeltje Maas
Ph.D., Cancer and Immunology
University of Lausanne

Shamik Mascharak
Ph.D., Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine
Stanford University

Karl Palmquist
Ph.D., Biology
The Rockefeller University


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Media contact: Molly McElroy [email protected] 

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center unites individualized care and advanced research to provide the latest cancer treatment options while accelerating discoveries that prevent, treat and cure cancer and infectious diseases worldwide. 

Based in Seattle, Fred Hutch is an independent, nonprofit organization and the only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center in Washington. We have earned a global reputation for our track record of discoveries in cancer, infectious disease and basic research, including important advances in bone marrow transplantation, immunotherapy, HIV/AIDS prevention and COVID-19 vaccines. Fred Hutch operates eight clinical care sites that provide medical oncology, infusion, radiation, proton therapy and related services. Fred Hutch also serves as UW Medicine’s cancer program.