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Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists Announce 30 Finalists

Finalists selected from over 300 nominations from leading academic and research institutions.

Published May 21, 2014

NEW YORK - May 21, 2014 - The Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists announced today the 30 National Finalists who will be competing for the three spots as the 2014 Blavatnik National Laureates.  The Finalists were selected from over 300 nominations of highly qualified faculty-rank researchers, aged 42 or younger, from the nation's leading academic and research institutions. 

The annual Awards, established by the Blavatnik Family Foundation and administered by the New York Academy of Sciences, recognize and support America's top scientific innovators in Life Sciences, Physical Sciences & Engineering, and Chemistry.  The three 2014 National Laureates will be announced this summer and will each receive an unrestricted cash prize of $250,000, the largest unrestricted prize of its kind for early career scientists.   

"This impressive group of finalists represents some of the finest young minds in science," says Richard Roberts, Nobel Laureate, Chief Scientific Officer, New England BioLabs, and member of the 2014 Blavatnik Awards National Jury. "By recognizing and celebrating their accomplishments, the Blavatnik National Awards remind us that some of today's most exciting research is being pursued by talented young scientists and this kind of recognition has a positive impact on their careers."

This year's National Finalists constitute an extraordinary group of talented young innovators whose research is changing the world and providing long-sought solutions to pressing global problems.

Within this distinguished group are scientists working on fundamental problems in physics, visionary engineers developing methods, tools, and devices that revolutionize technology; biologists exploring the most intricate mechanisms in nature and developing ingenious ways to prevent and control disease and improve global health; chemists challenging convention and expanding the role that chemistry plays in other fields; and inventors creating new ways to harness, transport and use energy.

To see the full list of National Finalists along with photos and links to their research web pages, visit the Awards website.

The National Laureates and Finalists will be honored at an awards ceremony on Monday, September 15th, 2014 at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. 

In addition, on July 9th 2014, the Academy and the Blavatnik Family Foundation will host a scientific symposium featuring the research of the 2014 Finalists and Blavatnik Awards honorees from previous years. The event will also include members of the Blavatnik Awards National Jury and Scientific Advisory Council, and other scientific luminaries.

To follow the progress of the Blavatnik Awards please visit the Awards website (, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@BlavatnikAwards).

For interview requests, please contact Marina Blinova (; 212-298-8626). For additional programmatic information, please contact Sabrina Francois (; 212-298-8624).

2014 Blavatnik National Awards Finalists

Life Sciences

Helen Blackwell, Immunology & Microbiology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Howard Chang, Genetics & Genomics, Stanford University

Jonathan Kagan, Immunology & Microbiology, Boston Children's Hospital

Rob Knight, Immunology & Microbiology, University of Colorado, Boulder

Harmit Malik, Evolutionary Biology, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Sarkis Mazmanian, Immunology & Microbiology, California Institute of Technology

Michael Rape, Molecular & Cellular Biology, University of California, Berkeley

Alice Ting, Molecular & Cellular Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Sinisa Urban, Molecular & Cellular Biology, Johns Hopkins University

Rachel Wilson, Neuroscience, Harvard University


Physical Sciences & Engineering


Yi Cui, Materials Science and Nanotechnology, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

Ali Hajimiri, Electrical Engineering, California Institute of Technology

Patrick Hopkins, Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering, University of Virginia

Ali Javey, Electrical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley

Ali Khademhosseini, Materials Science and Nanotechnology, Harvard University

Teri Odom, Materials Science and Nanotechnology, Northwestern University

Aydogan Ozcan, Electrical Engineering, University of California, Los Angeles

Leonardo Rastelli, Theoretical Physics, Stony Brook University

William Shih, Materials Science and Nanotechnology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Marin Soljačić, Condensed Matter Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology




Phil Baran, Organic Chemistry, The Scripps Research Institute

Garnet Chan, Theoretical Chemistry, Princeton University

Christopher Chang, Inorganic and Solid State Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley

Peng Chen, Physical Chemistry, Cornell University

Adam Cohen, Physical Chemistry, Harvard University

Ruben Gonzalez, Biochemistry and Structural Biology, Columbia University

Melanie Sanford, Synthetic Chemistry, University of Michigan

Michael Strano, Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Peng Yin, Chemical Biology, Harvard University

Martin Zanni, Physical Chemistry, University of Wisconsin-Madison 


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About the Blavatnik Family Foundation

The Blavatnik Family Foundation is an active supporter of leading educational, scientific, cultural, and charitable institutions in the United States, Europe, and throughout the world.  The Foundation is headed by Len Blavatnik, an American industrialist and philanthropist. Mr. Blavatnik is the founder and Chairman of Access Industries, a privately-held U.S. industrial group with global interests in natural resources and chemicals, media and telecommunications, emerging technologies, life sciences and real estate. For more detailed information, please visit:

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 committed to advancing science, technology, and society worldwide. With 22,000 members in 100 countries, the Academy is creating a global community of science for the benefit of humanity. The Academy's core mission is to advance scientific knowledge, positively impact the major global challenges of society with science-based solutions, and increase the number of scientifically informed individuals in society at large. Please visit us online at