Pharmacia Biotech & Science Prize

Grand Prize Winner

Scott Seiwert

Pharmacia Biotech and Science are pleased to announce the 1996 grand prize winner of the Pharmacia Biotech & Science Prize for Young Scientists. The winner of the 1996 grand prize in molecular biology was chosen from among the regional winners from four geographical areas: North America, Europe, Japan, and all other countries. The grand prize has been awarded to a regional winner from North America, Scott Seiwert, for his essay on RNA editing in trypanosomes. This essay describes his doctoral research at Yale University. Dr. Seiwert was born and spent the early part of his life in Cincinnati, Ohio. As a teenager he lived in southern California. His interest in RNA arose as an undergraduate at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he performed research on yeast pre-mRNA splicing in the laboratory of Manuel Ares. He received his graduate training in the Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale University in the laboratory of Joan A. Steitz and concluded his studies in absentia at Seattle Biomedical Research Institute in the laboratory of Kenneth Stuart. Early in the coming year, Dr. Seiwert will join the laboratory of Olke Uhlenbeck at the University of Colorado, Boulder, as a postdoctoral fellow.

Regional Winners

Yen Choo

First-Prize Winner in Europe: Yen Choo, for his essay "Grasping the Double Helix: The Design of Sequence-Specific DNA-Binding Proteins," which is based on research conducted in the laboratory of Aaron Klug in the Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB), University of Cambridge, United Kingdom. Dr. Choo was born in 1970 in Athens, Greece. His mother is a Greek archaeologist and his father a Chinese musical director. In 1979 they moved from Athens to Singapore where he attended school until 1989, graduating with the International Baccalaureate (Geneva). He then went to the University of Bristol, UK, where he took a B.S. in Biochemistry. In 1991 Dr. Choo went to the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology to work with Aaron Klug on protein-DNA interactions, for which work he was awarded the Laboratory's Max Perutz prize in 1994. His Ph.D. in molecular biology was awarded by the University of Cambridge in 1995. He is currently living in Cambridge, where he continues his work on the design of site-specific DNA-binding proteins at the LMB.

Tohru Mizushima

Regional winner for Japan: Tohru Mizushima, for his essay "Molecular Mechanisms of Cellular Stress Recognition—Relaxation of DNA in Escherichia coli and Induction of Heat Shock Proteins," which describes his doctoral research in the laboratory of Kazuhisa Sekimizu, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kyushu University, Japan. Dr. Mizushima received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Tokyo. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kyushu University.

Hilary Anne Vaughan

Regional Winner for All Other Countries: Hilary Anne Vaughan, for her essay "From Pig to Human, the Definition of the Major Pig Xenoantigen and the Development of Strategies to Prevent Hyperacute Rejection in Pig-to-Human Xenografts," which is based on research conducted under the direction of Mauro Sandrin, Austin Research Institute Heidelberg, Australia. Dr. Vaughan was born in the United Kingdom but later emigrated to Australia, where her research career began in the laboratory of Peter Morris in the area of transplantation. In 1989 she was awarded an M.S. for work conducted at the University of Melbourne under the direction of Ian McKenzie. In 1993, with the help of a National Medical and Research Council of Australia Dora Lush scholarship, she was able to commence her doctoral studies at the Austin Research Institute, Heidelberg, under the supervision of Mauro Sandrin. Her Ph.D. was successfully completed in 1995 for research into the use of pigs for xenotransplantation. At present she has a postdoctoral position in the Cancer Immunotherapy Laboratory at the Austin Research Institute, where she is working on a primate model to test the efficacy of a potential cancer vaccine.

Hwai-Jong Cheng

Regional Winner for North America: Hwai-Jong Cheng, for his essay "The Eph Ligand Family and Neuronal Topographic Mapping," which is based on his doctoral research in the Department of Cell Biology at Harvard University in the laboratory of John Flanagan, where he studied the role of receptor tyrosine kinase in neuronal development. He received his M.D. from National Taiwan University, Taiwan, and is currently in the Department of Pathology at National Taiwan University Hospital. He will continue his research on developmental neurobiology at the University of California, San Francisco, next year.

Maria A. Schumacher

Regional Winner for North America: Maria A. Schumacher, for her essay "Crystallographic Studies on the Purine Repressor: A Paradigm, Allostery, and a Novel DNA Binding Motif," which describes the work she performed in the laboratory of Richard Brennan in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) in Portland. Dr. Schumacher was born on February 27, 1966, and raised on a farm in Heisson, Washington. She graduated as valedictorian from Battle Ground High School in 1984 and then went to Clark College for two years where she became interested in chemistry. She transferred to Portland State University where she eventually graduated with high honors with a degree in chemistry in 1988. The next two years she worked as a quality control chemist at ALPKEM Corp. Dr. Schumacher obtained her Ph.D. in biochemistry from OHSU in 1995. Her main interest is the study of molecules involved in cell growth and regulation at the atomic level. As a graduate student she determined the structures of the Purine Repressor(PurR)-corepressor-DNA complex and the corepressor free form of PurR. In addition, she determined the structures of several cross-linked hemoglobins which may be used as potential cell free blood substitutes. This provided her with extensive training in x-ray crystallography. To provide herself with training that will expand her knowledge base and allow her to become a more independent investigator in the future, she has joined Dr. Richard Goodman's lab to gain experience in molecular biology. Also, his lab has cloned the key transcriptional integrator protein, the CREB Binding Protein (CBP). This large protein (2,441 amino acids) presents an extremely interesting and challenging molecule in terms of structural biology. Dr. Schumacher's main hobby is long-distance running and enjoying her family.

The other finalists were as follows: from North America, Yong Liu, Hiten Madhani, Kornelia Polyak, and Hongtao Yu; from Europe, Oliver Sorgenfrei; from Japan, Masashi Kato; and from all other countries, Peter Revill.

Volume 274, Number 5293, pp. 1637
©1996 by The American Association for the Advancement of Science.