Two postdoctoral researchers have been named finalists of the 2017 Blavatnik Regional Awards for Young Scientists. Established in 2007, the awards are given annually by the Blavatnik Family Foundation, and administered by the New York Academy of Sciences, to honor the excellence of outstanding postdoctoral scientists from institutions across Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey. Each finalist receives a $10,000 prize.
In 2017, 161 nominations for the awards were received from 28 academic institutions. A jury of senior scientists and engineers selected winners and finalists.
Chia Wei (Wade) Hsu — finalist, physical sciences & engineering
A condensed matter physicist, Hsu was recognized for his work in controlling light in fundamental and applied optical physics. He uses modern technologies to explore and control light and matter interactions across nano-, micro-, and macro-length scales.
“This recognition will support my ongoing work in disordered photonics and my pursuit of new ideas,” Hsu said. “By leveraging the intricate interactions between light and complex systems, I aim to probe fundamental questions in physics and to develop technologies with positive impacts on society.”
The Blavatnik Family Foundation is an active supporter of leading educational, scientific, cultural, and charitable institutions in the United States, Europe, and throughout the world. The New York Academy of Sciences is an independent, not-for-profit organization that since 1817 has been committed to advancing innovations in science, technology, and society worldwide.
Alan Healy — finalist, chemistry
Healy is a chemical biologist in the labs of Seth Herzon and Jason Crawford. Healy was recognized for creating the first and only synthetic model to study colibactin genotoxicity. Colibactin is a product of the bacteria E. coli that is associated with colorectal cancer development.
“The application of chemical synthesis as a tool to study complex microbial ecosystems, especially in the human gut, will be essential to elucidating the role of the microbiome in health and disease,” Healy said. “This honor highlights the importance of undertaking research at the interface between disciplines and the potential to translate this fundamental insight into novel therapeutics for the prevention and treatment of cancer.”