- The competition is designed to recognize excellence and creativity in biomedical research conducted by postdoctoral fellows and graduate students.
Venkata (Sai) Chaluvadi of the University of Pennsylvania has won the $50k Regeneron Prize for Creative Innovation in the graduate category, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc., announced this week. The 10th edition of the annual competition is designed to recognize excellence and creativity in biomedical research conducted by postdoctoral fellows and graduate students. Each year, Regeneron invites the country’s leading research universities to nominate early career scientists, who then present their “dream projects” within the field of biomedical science to a committee of Regeneron scientists and leaders, describing and designing the research they would pursue if they had access to any resource or technology.
Along with Chaluvadi, this year’s winners include Ryan Emenecker, Ph.D., of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, in the postdoctoral fellow category, and Meagan Esbin, a graduate student from the University of California at Berkeley, who received a $10,000 prize as an honorable mention. Seven other finalists received awards of $5,000 each.
Chaluvadi first developed an interest in immunology during his time in Dr. Susan Schwab’s lab at New York University. There “he helped discover the roles of S1P in immune cell trafficking and function, which resulted in publications in Nature and Nature Immunology,” Regeneron said in Chaluvadi’s bio. He began exploring the intersections between immunology and other fields such as oncology and neurology at the Perelman School of Medicine. “Work during rotations resulted in manuscripts related to tumor immunology and microglial replacement therapy that are in preparation,” Regeneron said. Currently, he is a member of the Bennett Lab, studying the contributions of diseased immune cells to the progression of Krabbe disease—a fatal neurodegenerative condition with limited available therapies.
“The Regeneron Prize celebrates the ingenuity of young scientists who are early in their careers but already on the cusp of the next big scientific breakthroughs,” said George D. Yancopoulos, president and Chief Scientific Officer of Regeneron. “Creativity is the engine that drives cutting-edge science, and both Ryan’s and Sai’s creativity shone brightly in their presentations. I was impressed by this year’s winners for their determination to push the boundaries of science and demonstrate scientific courage.”