Catherine Dulac, the Higgins Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, has added another coveted title to her roster. This year she was named named the Lee and Ezpeleta Professor of Arts and Sciences, a chair appointment that came with a monetary award that Dulac plans to pay forward to her students.
“It is a great distinction to be named [to this chair] and to receive discretionary funds associated with it,” Dulac said. “When I learned that this gift to Harvard was to recognize how much Harvard’s education impacted the life of the donors, Kewsong Lee and Zita Ezpeleta, I immediately thought that a great use of these funds would be to promote the learning experience of undergraduate students in my laboratory.”
Her first fellowship will be granted to Melonie Vaughn, a neuroscience concentrator from the Harvard College Class of 2019. Melonie’s fellowship will start this fall, and will help her fund her own research.
“I was in disbelief when I first discovered I would be receiving the fellowship, it is an incredible honor and I am extremely grateful for this recognition,” said Melonie. “Working in Dulac’s lab has been an amazing experience, and I am very blessed to have been given this opportunity to grow and mature as a scientist under her leadership.”
“Year after year, I love seeing how eager undergraduates are transformed by their research experience, as they learn to perform experiments and think critically about their data,” aid Dulac. “Melonie Vaughn joined my lab about a year ago and it has been wonderful to see how she and her project are flourishing in the lab. Melonie is very enthusiastic and highly engaged in her research. She thinks deeply about her project and is starting to crank up really interesting data! I am delighted to support Melonie as the first Lee and Ezpeleta fellow, and I wish her a bright future in science.”
Dulac’s new chair position will last for five years, and in that time her fellowship program will likely become one of the most prestigious awards in the department. The program was established by the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Michael D. Smith, to reward professors’ leadership, scholarship, and passion for teaching. With her decision to create this fellowship, Dulac has proven her dedication to her students.