During Nobel Week, SciLifeLab had the honor to welcome this year’s winners of the Science & SciLifeLab Prize for Young Scientists. Since 2013, the prize has annually been awarded to four scientists for outstanding research based on a doctoral degree earned in the previous two years and is a way to celebrate and encourage excellent researchers early on in their career path.
From left to right: James Daly, Caroline Ankarcrona (Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation), Florian Schmidt, Valda Vinson (Science Magazine), Stefany Moreno Gamez, Olli Kallioniemi (SciLifeLab) and Daniele Simoneschi.
Each year, a Grand Prize winner is selected from the applicants to receive 30,000 USD in prize money and the three other category winners are awarded 10,000 USD each for their accomplishments. This year’s winners excel in explaining their scientific discoveries and placing them into the broader context of biology, medicine, and even urgent societal challenges:
James Daly winner of the category Cell and Molecular Biology, for the essay Endosomes, receptors, and viruses – Mechanisms of infection are deciphered at the host-pathogen interface
Stefany Moreno Gamez winner in the category Ecology and Environment, for the essay How bacteria navigate varying environments – Collective sensing and phenotypic diversification aid response to environmental fluctuations
Daniele Simoneschi winner in the category Molecular Medicine, for the essay Uncovering the degrader of D-type cyclins – AMBRA1 is identified as the long-sought, major controller of D-type cyclins
And the Grand Prize winner Florian Schmidt, for the essay Autobiography of a gut bacterium – Recordings of transient transcriptional events shed light on the gut microbiome in the category Genomics, Proteomics and Systems Biology Approaches.
During the week, the winners got an opportunity to present their science to researchers as well as high school students, hear about current research at the Vasa Museum, visit the Gamla Uppsala museum with the Royal Mounds from the late iron age, and much more.
”What struck me most during my time in Stockholm was to have the chance to attend the Nobel Prize Ceremony and the Nobel Banquet. The solemnity of both ceremonies gave me goosebumps, something your rarely experience in science and it was a true pleasure and honor to be attending these festivities. Likewise, the experience of how openly all of us recipients of the Science and SciLifeLab Prize were welcomed by the research communities in Stockholm and Uppsala, was just heartwarming”, says this year’s Grand Prize winner Florian Schmidt, Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering, ETH Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland.
On December 8, the prize winners presented their research at the Science & SciLifeLab Prize for Young Scientists Symposium, this year moderated by SciLifeLab Fellows Alexandra Teleki and Mikael Sellin. Gilda Barabino, President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) gave the keynote speech, where which she reminded the audience of the ethos and pathos of science, and to remember our ”why” of conducting research, which is sometimes easily lost in the competitiveness of day-to-day work in the laboratory.
“If I would give advice to my younger self, it would be to keep track of my “why”, to be more adventurous – more free – and willing to take more chances”, says Gilda Barabino, President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
The Science and SciLifeLab Prize for Young Scientists was initiated as a collaboration between SciLifeLab in Sweden and Science magazine/AAAS. It is co-funded by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation one of the largest private financiers of scientific research in Europe.