July 6, 2023

Yasminye Pettway selected as the 2023 Vanderbilt Prize Student Scholar

Yasminye Pettway has been selected as the 2023 Vanderbilt Prize Student Scholar.

Yasminye Pettway

Yasminye Pettway, a fourth-year graduate student in the Medical Scientist Training Program at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, has been selected as the 2023 Vanderbilt Prize Student Scholar.

She will receive a $1,000 cash prize and will be mentored by the recipient of the 2023 Vanderbilt Prize in Biomedical Science, Professor Dame Frances Ashcroft, a British physiologist known internationally for her work on insulin secretion, Type 2 diabetes and neonatal diabetes.

Pettway will be recognized during Ashcroft’s Discovery Lecture, to be held at 4 p.m. Sept. 14 in 208 Light Hall.

Established in 2006, the Vanderbilt Prize honors women scientists with stellar records of research accomplishments who have made significant contributions to mentoring other women in science. Recipients mentor female graduate students at Vanderbilt — Vanderbilt Prize Student Scholars — who are pursuing doctorates in the biomedical sciences.

Pettway is a doctoral candidate in the laboratory of Al Powers, MD, director of the Vanderbilt Diabetes Center, and Marcela Brissova, PhD, research professor of Medicine, where she is investigating the role of a key pancreatic islet-enriched transcription factor in adult human beta cell function.

Powers, the Joe C. Davis Professor of Biomedical Science, is professor of Medicine and Molecular Physiology & Biophysics, chief of the Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolism, and director of the Diabetes Research and Training Center (DRTC).

In their nomination letter, Powers and Brissova, who directs the DRTC Islet and Pancreas Analysis Core, wrote that “Yasminye is a perfect fit for this award. She thoughtfully reads the literature and then designs and conducts innovative experiments. She is excellent at identifying the next questions to address.

“She is a creative thinker with a wonderful mix of intellectual skills, curiosity, patience, common sense, enthusiasm and maturity for an outstanding career in biomedical research,” they wrote.

A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Duke University, Pettway has co-authored more than a dozen scientific articles and abstracts, has presented at several national and international meetings and symposia, and has received an F30 predoctoral MD/PhD fellowship grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

She has received a Dean’s Award for Exceptional Achievement in Graduate Studies from Vanderbilt, and she was chosen as a Rising Star in Metabolism to speak at a symposium hosted by the University of Utah Diabetes and Metabolism Research Center in May.

Pettway also participates in a Vanderbilt STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) interest program, a high school mentoring program of the Medical Scientist Training Program Outreach Committee, and as a mentor in the Vanderbilt Student National Medical Association.

To be eligible for the Vanderbilt Prize Student Scholar award, candidates must be enrolled in the medical school’s PhD track (includes PhD and MD/PhD trainees), have completed the qualifying exam, and have at least one year left to complete the PhD degree.

Nominations are accepted from department chairs or program directors in the biomedical sciences, directors of graduate studies and faculty mentors.

Competitive nominees demonstrate excellent leadership qualities through their research and service to the scientific community and characteristics that exhibit outstanding potential to impact medicine through research during their careers.

For more information about the Vanderbilt Prize Student Scholar, visit https://www.vumc.org/oor/vanderbilt-prize-student-scholar.