Harvard University - Department of Molecular & Cellular Biology

FOUR UNDERGRADUATES RECEIVE AWARDS

by Ryan Draft and Tom Torello

May 27th, 2014

(l to r) Morgan Elizabeth Henry, Ian Boothby, Dr. Ryan Draft (Neuro Advisor), Lisa Fountain (Program Coordinator), Prof. Adam Cohen (Co-Head Tutor, CPB), Dr. Laura Magnotti (Neuro Advisor),  Robert Powers, Prof. Rachelle Gaudet (Co-Head Tutor, MCB), Dr. Tom Torello (MCB & CPB Advisor), and Pragya Kakani

Four undergraduates concentrators from Chemical and Physical Biology (CPB), Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB), and Neurobiology received awards for their theses in May 2014.


Four undergraduates win Hoopes Prizes

The Thomas Temple Hoopes Prize, a Harvard College-wide honor, was established in 1982 to “grant awards to undergraduates on the basis of outstanding scholarly work or research.” The Hoopes Prize particularly recognizes scholarly writing and presentation.  Each of this year’s 71 winners receives a cash award of $4,000.  Their nominators receive $1,000. 

The CPB, MCB and Neurobiology concentrators who won a 2014 Hoopes Prize are:

Boothby, Ian (MCB) for his submission entitled "Structural Patterns of Synaptic Connection in the Motor Neuron Circuit" - nominated by Professor Jeff Lichtman


Henry, Morgan Elizabeth (Neuro) for her submission entitled "The Emergence of Orientation Invariant Representations Within the Visual Cortex" - nominated by Professor George Alvarez


Kakani, Pragya (Neuro) for her submission entitled "The Impact of Stress on Reward Responsiveness in Individuals with Remitted Major Depressive Disorder: An EEG Study" - nominated by Professor Diego Pizzagalli


Powers, Robert (CPB) for his submission entitled "Structural study of a novel partial Ca2+-free linker and a positively selected variation in Protocadherin-15: Implications for hearing and cell adhesion" - nominated by Professor Rachelle Gaudet


Pragya Kakani wins the 2014 John E. Dowling Thesis Prize

Pragya Kakani (l) and Prof. John Dowling

The John E. Dowling Thesis Prize was established in 2012 to commemorate the retirement of Harvard scientist, teacher, and Neurobiology Head Tutor John E. Dowling. This award marks outstanding scientific achievement in the field of Neurobiology. The awardee receives a framed certificate and a $500 prize.
The 2014 John E. Dowling Thesis Prize was awarded to Pragya Kakani for her thesis "The Impact of Stress on Reward Responsiveness in Individuals with Remitted Major Depressive Disorder: An EEG Study”.  In this thesis, Pragya used non-invasive human brain imaging to investigate the mechanisms by which stress precipitates and maintains major depression. Ultimately, she found preliminary indications that stress reduces the experience of pleasure, thereby, increasing the risk of depression. Pragya performed her thesis research in Professor Diego Pizzagalli’s laboratory at McLean Hospital.


Ian Boothby wins the 2014 Lawrence J. Henderson Prize

Ian Boothby (l) and Prof. Jeff Lichtman

The Lawrence J. Henderson Prize is awarded to the student who submits the most meritorious thesis to the Board of Tutors in Biochemical Sciences.  The recipients receive a $500 book award, a framed certificate, and a copy of "Fitness of the Environment" by Professor Lawrence J. Henderson (1878-1942).
The 2014 Lawrence J. Henderson Prize was awarded to Ian Boothby for his thesis “Structural Patterns of Synaptic Connection in the Motor Neuron Circuit”.   In this thesis Ian used multispectral, high-resolution fluorescent microscopy to reveal every synaptic connection among a network of developing neurons. Furthermore  he pioneered computational and graph theory approaches to analyze the connectivity pattern of the neurons and improve our understanding of neural circuits.  Ian’s research was carried out in Professor Jeff Lichtman’s laboratory.

Ian Boothbhy wins the 2014 Bowdoin Prize in the Natural Sciences
The Bowdoin Prizes recognize “essays of originality and high literary merit, written in a way that engages both specialists and non-specialists”.  Established in 1810, the Bowdoin prizes are considered among Harvard’s oldest and most prestigious student awards, and have been awarded to many notable Harvard students, including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Arthur M. Schlesinger, and John Updike.  There are two categories for the undergraduate prizes:  the Bowdoin Prize in the English Language and the Bowdoin Prize in the Natural Sciences.  Each winner receives a cash award of $10,000.