The 2012 Fishman Fund Awards were presented to five postdoctoral researchers during a ceremony held at Sanford-Burnham’s La Jolla campus October 11. Each fall, the Fishman Fund Awards are presented to exceptional young scientists. The award provides means and incentive to further the recipients’ professional development.
During the ceremony, Sanford-Burnham President Kristiina Vuori, M.D., Ph.D. talked about the importance of postdocs in the Institute’s overall work; of roughly 1,200 employees at Sanford-Burnham, approximately 200 are postdocs. She recalled her own time as a postdoc here at the Institute, in the lab of Erkki Ruoslahti, M.D., Ph.D., and said that it was during that time when she became “hooked on science.”
Nico Nierenberg, former chair of Sanford-Burnham’s board of trustees gave the evening’s keynote speech. He talked about the promise of research, the discoveries that await us tomorrow, and the value of investing in Sanford-Burnham’s work.
The awards were then presented to:
Tufan Aydogdu, Ph.D. – Dr. Aydogdu is studying muscle stem cells in Dr. Alessandra Sacco’s laboratory, seeking to cure muscular dystrophy and develop regenerative therapies. His career goal is to become a clinical trial project manager, allowing him to have a direct impact on patients and help them live longer, healthier lives.
Soda B. Diop, Ph.D. – Dr. Diop conducts research in Dr. Rolf Bodmer’s laboratory. She uses the fruit fly as a model to study the molecular-genetic mechanisms of obesity and forms of cardiac disease associated with diabetes. Through partnerships between the U.S. and Senegal, Dr. Diop plans to lead research teams to develop additional complementary approaches to this problem.
Mihee M. Kim, Ph.D. – Dr. Kim studies the origins of colon cancer, focusing on cancer stem cells. Under the mentorship of Dr. Robert Oshima, she hopes to identify drugs that can differentially target cancer stem cells from normal stem cells. She hopes to become a professor at an undergraduate institution where she can instill her passion for scientific research to her students.
Zhi-Gang She, M.D., Ph.D. – Dr. She is working in Dr. Erkki Ruoslahti’s laboratory with a research focus on targeted therapy for atherosclerosis-related diseases, such as coronary artery disease and stroke. Dr. She plans to lead a research team to optimize the strategies for targeted therapy for these diseases.
Jun Wang, Ph.D. — Dr. Wang works in Dr. Robert Wechsler-Reya’s laboratory studying medulloblastoma, the most common malignant brain tumor in children. Using animal models, Dr. Wang hopes to find novel therapeutic tools for targeted treatment of medulloblastoma. His career goal is to eventually bring his research findings to patients suffering from this type of tumor.
We wish them well and will watch their budding careers with interest.
The Fishman Fund was established by Mary Bradley and Reena Horowitz in 2001 to honor Dr. William and Lillian Fishman, founders of Sanford-Burnham (then known as the La Jolla Cancer Research Foundation). Dr. and Mrs. Fishman were committed to fostering the careers of young scientists. The Fishman Fund honors this tradition.