Seventeen Scientists Selected for Whitman Center Research Awards

Rafael Yuste, co-director of the Kavli Institute for Brain Science at Columbia University, HHMI Investigator, and one of the 2017 MBL Whitman Center Research Awardees.

Rafael Yuste, co-director of the Kavli Institute for Brain Science at Columbia University, HHMI Investigator, and one of the 2017 MBL Whitman Center Research Awardees.

Seventeen innovative scientists are recipients of 2017 Whitman Center Research Awards, the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) has announced. These leading scientists, who hail from 16 institutions in 5 nations, will receive funding to conduct research in the MBL’s Whitman Center, a vibrant, interactive research community that annually includes more than 100 principal investigators from academic institutions around the world.

The awardees will conduct fundamental research for up to 11 weeks in areas of strategic focus for the MBL, including marine biology and diversity, cell biology and imaging, computation and modeling, regeneration and development, neuroscience, genomics, models of human disease, evolution and ecology.

Several of the awardees are coming to the MBL for the first time to launch a new project, while others will continue research programs they established in the Whitman Center in prior years. All will benefit from the Whitman Center’s convening and collaborative environment, which is dedicated to offering scientists the space, time, inspiration, and support to intensively pursue research of fundamental importance.

The 17 awardees will join eight Whitman Center Early Career Awardees, who were announced previously.

The 2017 Whitman Center Research Awardees are:

Kabmiz Alavian (Imperial College, London, UK)
Regulation of synaptic transmission by Bcl-xL and Kv3.3

David C. Butler (Regenerative Research Foundation, Rensselaer, NY)
Development of bifunctional intrabodies to prevent synuclein toxicity following spinal cord injury

Scott Dawson (University of California, Davis)
Defining the mechanism of interphase branching microtubule nucleation in the emerging model reticulated amoebae Corallomyxa tenera

Ben Evans (McMaster University, Canada)
Using genome editing to study rapid evolution of sex determination

Antonio Giraldez (Yale University)
Identification of the regulatory code during the maternal to zygotic transition

Pierre Gönczy (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Switzerland)
Mechanisms of centriole elimination in starfish oocytes

Gary Gorbsky (University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center)
Rapid gene editing in multiple model species through transfer of nuclei from cultured cells

Marc Hammarlund (Yale University)
Function and regulation of developmental programmed cell death

Ke Hu (Indiana University)
From free living to parasitism: understanding the evolutionary path of the apicomplexan parasites using their marine relatives

Pierre Philippe Laissue (University of Essex, UK)
Label-free, low-phototoxicity imaging of marine organisms and communities

Paul Maddox (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)
LITE Imaging: A high numerical aperture low photobleaching fluorescence imaging technology

Jocelyn Malamy (University of Chicago)
Assessing the role of Rho GTPases and de novo protein synthesis in epithelial wound healing in vivo using a marine hydrozoan, Clytia hemisphaerica

John Oakey (University of Wyoming)
Microfluidic encapsulation of cell-free extracts to probe intracellular processes driven by microtubule dynamics

Mary Anne O’Connell (CEITEC Masaryk University, Czech Republic)
Elucidating the evolutionarily conserved roles of ADARs, the RNA editing enzymes

Christopher Sansam (Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation)
Developmental regulation of DNA replication

Denisa Wagner (Harvard Medical School)
Cellular events during the formation of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs)

Rafael Yuste (Columbia University)
Breaking the neural code of a cnidarian


The Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) is dedicated to scientific discovery – exploring fundamental biology, understanding marine biodiversity and the environment, and informing the human condition through research and education. Founded in Woods Hole, Massachusetts in 1888, the MBL is a private, nonprofit institution and an affiliate of the University of Chicago.