The Fifth Annual Blavatnik National Awards Ceremony and Gala Celebrates America’s Top Young Scientists and Engineers at the American Museum of Natural History

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Celebrating America’s most promising scientists aged 42 years and younger, the fifth annual Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists Ceremony and Gala was held at the American Museum of Natural History last night. The Ceremony, hosted by the Blavatnik Family Foundation, was attended by some of the country’s most prominent figures in science, business, and philanthropy. The Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists, which began in 2007 and is administered by the New York Academy of Sciences, is the largest unrestricted prize for early-career scientists: $250,000 per Laureate.

Distinguished guests who attended the ceremony included 2001 Nobel Laureate Barry Sharpless of The Scripps Research Institute; 2006 Nobel Laureate Roger D. Kornberg of Stanford University; 2000 Nobel Laureate Eric Kandel of Columbia University; Andrew Hamilton, President of New York University; Joseph Klafter, President of Tel Aviv University; Lawrence S. Bacow, President of Harvard University; Warner Music Group CEO, Steve Cooper; and Australian writer-director-producerBaz Luhrmann. Members of the Julliard Orchestra performed throughout the evening.

Dr. Marc Tessier-Lavigne, President of Stanford University and renowned neuroscientist, served as Master of Ceremonies for the evening. The three 2018 Blavatnik National Laureates were presented with their medals by Len Blavatnik, the Founder and Chairman of Access Industries and the Blavatnik Family Foundation, then each gave a short presentation on their research:

  • Life Sciences Laureate Janelle Ayres, PhD, of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, was recognized for her pioneering research on disease tolerance and host-pathogen interactions. Dr. Ayres’ research has the potential to solve one of the greatest current public health threats: anti-microbial resistance.
  • Physical Sciences & Engineering Laureate Sergei V. Kalinin, PhD, of Oak Ridge National Laboratory was celebrated for creating novel techniques to study, measure, and control the functionality of nanomaterials at the atomic and nanoscale. Dr. Kalinin’s work in manipulating individual atoms has the potential to enable scientists to create new classes of materials by assembling matter atom-by-atom.
  • Chemistry Laureate Neal K. Devaraj, PhD, of the University of California, San Diego was honored for his transformative work on the synthesis of artificial cells and membranes, creating an exciting new field of research that aims to bring greater understanding to the origins of life, a major goal in synthetic biology.

Twenty-eight 2018 Blavatnik National Finalists were also honored during the evening. Dr. Tessier-Lavigne concluded the ceremony with a ‘fireside chat’ with the three Laureates, posing questions related to the future of their respective disciplines and importance of STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) education.

**Photography and video from the Blavatnik National Awards Ceremony are available upon request. Please contact Kamala Murthy [kmurthy@nyas.org; +1-212-298-3740] **

Please visit the Blavatnik Awards’ website or follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@BlavatnikAwards).

About the Blavatnik Family Foundation

The Blavatnik Family Foundation is an active supporter of many leading educational, scientific, cultural, and charitable institutions in the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel, and throughout the world. Recipients of Foundation support include the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, Harvard University, Yale University, Tel Aviv University, Stanford University, New York University, the University of Pennsylvania, the New York Academy of Sciences, Tate, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Carnegie Hall, the Royal Opera House, the Hermitage Museum, The Israel Museum, Lincoln Center, numerous Jewish charitable organizations, and countless other philanthropic institutions.

The Foundation is headed by Len Blavatnik, a global industrialist and philanthropist. Mr. Blavatnik is the Founder and Chairman of Access Industries, a privately-held industrial group headquartered in New York City with global strategic interests in natural resources and chemicals, media and telecommunications, venture capital, and real estate. For more detailed information, please visit: www.accessindustries.com

About the New York Academy of Sciences

The New York Academy of Sciences is an independent, not-for-profit organization that since 1817 has been driving innovative solutions to society’s challenges by advancing scientific research, education, and policy. Throughout its history, the Academy’s Membership has featured thinkers and innovators from all walks of life, including U.S. Presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe, Thomas Edison, Lord Kelvin, Charles Darwin, Margaret Mead, Louis Pasteur, and over 130 Nobel Laureates.

Today, the Academy numbers over 20,000 Members in 100+ countries, with a President’s Council that includes 36 Nobel Laureates and a distinguished Board of Governors comprised of leaders from business, academia, and philanthropy. It is also young and dynamic with nearly 10,000 post-doctoral, post-graduate, undergraduate, and gifted high school student Members. Through collective action, the Academy is partnering with the United Nations to address their Sustainable Development Goals, advising national leaders and organizing public-private partnerships to address the grand challenges of the planet.