MCO Graduate Program alum Jenelle Wallace (Ph.D. ‘20, Murthy Lab and Stevens Lab) has received a prestigious Schmidt Science Fellowship that will support her postdoctoral research on the evolution of nervous systems in Alex Pollen’s lab at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).
Established in 2017 by Schmidt Futures and delivered in partnership with the Rhodes Trust, the Schmidt Science Fellows Program awards fellowships to promising early career scientists who commit to an interdisciplinary pivot in their postdoctoral research.
Through her pivot, Wallace will apply her neuroscience training to evolutionary questions. “I spent many years studying how mouse brains learn and adjust to new experiences, but we really have no idea how many of these mechanisms are conserved in primates and especially in humans,” Wallace says. “To approach this question, I will need to integrate neuroscience methods with advances in evolutionary genetics to compare across primate genomes and newly available induced pluripotent stem cells from humans and other primates.”
Wallace is one of 28 Schmidt Science Fellows in the 2021 cohort. Each fellow receives an annual stipend of $100,000 for a 1-to-2-year postdoctoral appointment, as well as access to personalized mentoring and networking opportunities.
“I am eager to meet other fellows who are taking the plunge into learning something completely new during their postdocs and to learn how to lead teams from diverse backgrounds to tackle these interdisciplinary questions,” Wallace says.
The Schmidt Science Fellowship is the most recent of many laurels Wallace has garnered during her academic career. “I am thrilled, but not surprised, that Jenelle has received the Schmidt Science Fellowship,” says MCB faculty and Wallace’s thesis advisor Venki Murthy. “Her graduate work here (jointly with Beth Stevens’ group) was fantastic, and her proposed postdoctoral work is even more so. Jenelle’s versatility and multidisciplinary excellence is exactly why the Schmidt program has chosen her, and why she will be wildly successful as a scientist!”
Congratulations to Dr. Wallace!