The Blavatnik Regional Awards is honoring two young scientists for their work at Rockefeller. On October 13, the Blavatnik Family Foundation and the New York Academy of Sciences named Hani Goodarzi, a postdoc in Sohail Tavazoie’s laboratory, a 2015 Blavatnik Regional Award Winner in the life sciences. Ziv Shulman, a former postdoc in Michel C. Nussenzweig’s laboratory, was selected as a finalist in the life sciences.
Funded by the Blavatnik Family Foundation and administered by the New York Academy of Sciences, the Regional Awards honor outstanding postdoctoral scientists from institutions across New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Winners receive $30,000 each and finalists are awarded $10,000 each, and will be honored at the Academy’s annual gala in November.
Numerous other Rockefeller researchers, including most recently postdoc Stephen Brohawn, have previously been selected as finalists or winners of the Regional Awards. The foundation and the academy also recognize faculty-level scientists through a National Award. Luciano Marraffini, an assistant professor and head of the Laboratory of Bacteriology, was selected as a finalist for the Blavatnik National Award earlier this year.
Goodarzi works in the Elizabeth and Vincent Meyer Laboratory of Systems Cancer Biology, headed by Sohail Tavazoie, the Leon Hess Associate Professor and Senior Attending Physician at Rockefeller University Hospital.
Drawing on his background in computational and experimental biology, Goodarzi’s research combines the analysis of large data sets with rigorous cellular, molecular, and biochemical experimentation to develop new frameworks to study cancer progression. Using an algorithm he developed while a Ph.D. student at Princeton University, he has scanned both the sequence and shape of RNA molecules in breast cancer cells, leading to the discovery of a post-transcriptional network that regulates metastasis.
Shulman worked in the Laboratory of Molecular Immunology headed by Michel Nussenzweig, the Zanvil A. Cohn and Ralph M. Steinman Professor, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and Senior Physician at the Rockefeller University Hospital.
Shulman’s research focuses on the formation of protective antibodies during the immune response. By directly visualizing this process he uncovered the cellular mechanisms and signaling events by which the immune system, in response to vaccination, selects cells to produce efficient antibodies against future invading pathogens. His work helped answer several questions in the field and has implications for the design of vaccination strategies, especially those that induce immune protection against chronic infections or pathogens such as HIV.
Since conducting this work at Rockefeller, Shulman has established his own laboratory at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, where he received his Ph.D.