2016 - All Press Releases

Nature honors distinguished Washingtonian scientist for lifetime of mentoring

London, 1 December 2016

Julie Overbaugh, PhD, a scientist and member at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle who holds the Endowed Chair of Graduate Education, today received the lifetime achievement Nature Award for Mentoring in Science and a $10,000 prize. Nature hosts these annual awards to champion the importance of mentoring and inspiring a generation of young scientists.

Sir Philip Campbell PhD, Editor-in-Chief, Nature, who presented Dr. Overbaugh the award said: "One of Julie Overbaugh's nominators said of her that 'her entire mentoring style is a gift to science'. It's a great pleasure for us at Nature to honor such consistent attention to her lab members, in helping them fulfill their potential."

For nearly three decades, Dr. Overbaugh has made seminal contributions to research, dedicating herself to discovering key scientific phenomena in viral evolution and immunology. She was among the first basic science researchers to join forces with clinicians and epidemiologists in Africa to address pressing research questions related to the HIV pandemic. Her pioneering international, interdisciplinary research is recognized for its breadth and it focus in populations that are particularly vulnerable to HIV: women and infants. In concert with her own exemplary scientific discoveries, she has mentored, guided, and nurtured hundreds of undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, postdoctoral students and junior faculty. This award recognizes her efforts to consistently model curiosity, generosity, and resiliency and her ability to thoughtfully develop individualized plans for her mentees to achieve scientific excellence.

Dr. Bhavna Chohan said. "I met Julie for the first time in Mombasa, Kenya in 1993, when she came to help set a field research laboratory for AIDS research work. It was amazing to see her organized and methodic approaches in setting up the laboratory in the most difficult of situations. She showed an incredible patience and the ability to teach and supervise our group of technicians in the field. Julie's intelligence and excellent guidance in research has made our Kenyan research group recognized worldwide, with numerous publications and some ground-breaking research findings in the AIDS field."

Mentorship has been a passion for Dr. Overbaugh for nearly 30 years. "Training students and fellows is a complex task, as it requires balancing the needs and goals of the trainees with the needs of the lab to produce high quality work and generate funding to support the research," said Overbaugh. "In general, I believe that the former is more important than the publications, and upon reflection, would certainly say I am more proud of the people I have trained than the papers I have published."

For more than ten years, Nature has been recognizing outstanding scientific mentors in different regions around the world with the Nature Awards for Mentoring in Science. This year's awards for mentoring are focused on the US states of Washington, Oregon and California. Susan L. Forsburg, Gabilan Distinguished Professor in Science and Engineering and Professor of Biological Sciences at The University of Southern California (USC), received the mid-career 2016 Nature Award for Mentoring on 28 November. Each winner receives a prize of US $10,000.




For more information contact:

Rachel Scheer
Head of Communications, USA, Springer Nature
T: +1 212-451-8569
E: r.scheer@us.nature.com

Mark Staniland
Senior Communications Manager, Nature Research, UK
T: +44 (0)207 014 6630
E: mark.staniland@nature.com

Jonathan Rabinovitz
Associate Director of Media Relations, Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center
T: +1-216-667-6906
E: jrabinov@fredhutch.org

Notes to editors:

About Nature Research

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About Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
At Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, home to three Nobel laureates, interdisciplinary teams of world-renowned scientists seek new and innovative ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening diseases. Fred Hutch's pioneering work in bone marrow transplantation led to the development of immunotherapy, which harnesses the power of the immune system to treat cancer with minimal side effects. An independent, nonprofit research institute based in Seattle, Fred Hutch houses the nation's first and largest cancer prevention research program, as well as the clinical coordinating center of the Women's Health Initiative and the international headquarters of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network. Private contributions are essential for enabling Fred Hutch scientists to explore novel research opportunities that lead to important medical breakthroughs. For more information visit fredhutch.org or follow Fred Hutch on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.