Essays on Science and Society

2004 Grand Prize Winner

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Science  15 Oct 2004:
Vol. 306, Issue 5695, pp. 428
DOI: 10.1126/science.306.5695.428

Dr. Miriam B. Goodman grew up in Lexington, Massachusetts, and Bethesda, Maryland. As a high school student, she worked in research labs at the National Institutes of Health where she wrote scientific software. She earned a bachelor's degree in Biochemistry from Brown University in 1986. As a graduate student in neurobiology at the University of Chicago, she analyzed voltage-dependent ion channels that tune vertebrate hair cells. After being awarded her Ph.D. in 1995, she pursued postdoctoral work in C. elegans neurophysiology and genetics at the University of Oregon and Columbia University. Currently, Dr. Goodman is an Assistant Professor of Molecular and Cellular Physiology at Stanford University. Work in her laboratory focuses on delineating the molecular events that give rise to the sense of touch. Outside the laboratory, Dr. Goodman enjoys cooking with friends, hiking, rock-climbing, and going to the movies. Though currently sidelined, Dr. Goodman has also played soccer since age 8.


Kang Shen, for his essay “Synaptic Matchmakers: Molecular Mechanisms of Synaptic Specificity.” Dr. Shen was born and raised in Wuhan, China. He studied clinical medicine at Tongji Medical University of China. After graduating in 1994, he joined the graduate program at Duke University, where he studied the spatial and temporal control of CaMKII localization in hippocampal neurons in the laboratory of Dr. Tobias Meyer. After receiving his Ph.D. in 1999, he pursued postdoctoral work in Dr. Cornelia Bargmann's lab at the University of California, San Francisco, where he addressed the question of synaptic specificity, using C. elegans as a model system. Dr. Shen started his own lab at Stanford University in 2003, focusing on understanding molecular mechanisms of synaptic target specificity. Outside of the laboratory, Dr. Shen enjoys a variety of sports and outdoor activities.

Qin Shen, for her essay “Preventing Aging in Neural Stem Cells: Regulating Asymmetric Versus Symmetric Cell Divisions.” Dr. Shen was born and grew up in China. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Pharmacology from Shanghai Medical University in 1991. In 1996, she entered the graduate program in Neuroscience at Albany Medical College, New York, under the guidance of Dr. Sally Temple, who specializes in neural stem cell development. Her Ph.D. project, completed in 2001, focused on asymmetric cell division and the generation of cell diversity in the embryonic murine cerebral cortex. She is now a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Temple's laboratory working on mechanisms regulating neural stem cell self-renewal and cell fate choices, including interactions between neural stem cells and endothelial niche cells. The mother of a toddler, Dr. Shen also carves out a little time for gardening and reading.

For the full text of essays by the finalists and for information about applying for next year's awards, see Science Online at

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