Essays on Science and SocietyGE PRIZE ESSAY

2008 Grand Prize Winner

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Science  05 Dec 2008:
Vol. 322, Issue 5907, pp. 1487
DOI: 10.1126/science.322.5907.1487

Ethan Garner, the author of the prize-winning essay, was born in Richland, Washington. He received his B.S. in biochemistry from Washington State University, where he worked with Keith Dunker developing tools to predict disordered regions within proteins. He conducted his graduate work at the University of California, San Francisco, where he studied the kinetics and regulation of prokaryotic polymers with Dyche Mullins. Ethan is moving to Boston, where he will be working with Tim Mitchinson, Xiaowei Zhuang, and Alice Ting on elucidating the process of prokaryotic DNA segregation.

Regional Winners

North America:Xu Tan for his essay “Plant Hormone Auxin Functions as Novel Molecular Glue.” Dr. Tan spent his first 18 years in Changsha, China. In high school, he won a national first prize in the biology Olympiad. After earning his B.S. from the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei, he pursued graduate studies at the University of Washington, Seattle. Under the advice of Ning Zheng, Dr. Tan did his thesis research on the structural biology of ubiquitin ligases. Looking forward to expanding his research horizons, he is starting a postdoctoral position with Steve Elledge at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School.

Europe:Sabrina Büttner for her essay “Endonuclease G Regulates Cellular Fate.” Dr. Büttner was born in Mutlangen, Germany. She studied biochemistry at the Eberhardt-Karls University, Tübingen, Germany, and received her diploma with honors in 2004. During her Ph.D. studies, conducted under the guidance of Frank Madeo at the Institute for Molecular Biosciences, University of Graz, Austria, she investigated yeast programmed cell death in the context of aging and oxidative stress, identifying molecular mechanisms of apoptosis in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. After defending her doctoral thesis in 2007, Dr. Büttner continued her research in the Madeo lab as a postdoctoral fellow, focusing on the further establishment of yeast as a model for neurodegenerative diseases.

Japan:Kaori Yamada for her essay “Moving PIP3 Regulates Cell Polarity.” Dr. Yamada grew up in Kinokawa, a beautiful town in Wakayama, Japan. She received a B.S. degree from the University of Tokyo. A strong interest in life science led her to remain there as a graduate student in Yasuhisa Fukui's laboratory. During her Ph.D. project, she spent time in the laboratory of Athar H. Chishti, a collaborator at the University of Illinois, Chicago. There, Dr. Yamada elucidated how kinesin transports the lipid messenger PIP3 in neurons. She completed her Ph.D. in January 2007 and is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Illinois, Chicago.

All other countries:Sarel Fleishman for his essay “Modeling at the Gates of the Cell.” Dr. Fleishman received an M.Sc. in biochemistry (summa cum laude) and a Ph.D. (with distinction) from Tel-Aviv University, Israel, where he studied in the group of Nir Ben-Tal. During his graduate studies, he investigated the structure, function, and evolution of membrane proteins associated with hereditary hearing loss and neurodegenerative diseases, cancer, and bacterial drug resistance. He is currently a Human Frontier Research Postdoctoral Fellow working on computational design of protein-based inhibitors toward pathogenic molecules in David Baker's laboratory at the University of Washington.

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

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