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2020 Science & SciLifeLab Winners


Junyue Cao

Junyue Cao received his undergraduate degree from Peking University and a Ph.D. from the University of Washington. After completing his postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Washington, Junyue Cao started his lab at the Rockefeller University in 2020. His research focuses on studying how a cell population in our body maintains homeostasis by developing novel genomic techniques to profile and perturb cell dynamics at single-cell resolution.

Read his grand prize winning essay here.


Orsi Decker

Orsi Decker completed her undergraduate degree at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary. She went on to receive her master’s degree in Ecology and Evolution at the University of Amsterdam. Decker completed her doctoral research at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia, where she investigated the extinctions of native digging mammals and their context-dependent impacts on soil processes. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher at La Trobe University where she is examining how land restoration efforts could be improved to regain soil functions via the introduction of soil fauna to degraded areas.

Read her prize winning essay here.


Dasha Nelidova

Dasha Nelidova completed her undergraduate degrees at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. She completed her Ph.D. in neurobiology at the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research in Basel, Switzerland. Nelidova is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Molecular and Clinical Ophthalmology Basel, where she is working to develop new translational technologies for treating retinal diseases that lead to blindness.

Read her prize winning essay here.



William E. Allen

William E. Allen received his undergraduate degree in Applied Mathematics and Biology from Brown University in 2012, M.Phil. in Computational Biology from University of Cambridge in 2013, and Ph.D. in Neurosciences from Stanford University in 2019. At Stanford, he worked to develop new tools for the large-scale characterization of neural circuit structure and function, which he applied to understand the neural basis of thirst. After completing his Ph.D., William started as an independent Junior Fellow in the Society of Fellows at Harvard University, where he is developing and applying new approaches to map mammalian brain function and dysfunction over an animal's lifespan. These thirst signals are broadcast throughout the brain to globally coordinate neural activity during motivated behavior.

Read his prize winning essay here.