March 17, 2006

Vanderbilt Prize to honor women in biomedical science

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Vanderbilt Prize to honor women in biomedical science

In a field dominated by men, the many contributions of women to the biological and biomedical sciences have gone largely unrecognized.

Recently, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine established the “Vanderbilt Prize in Biomedical Science” to honor women who have made significant advances in the biological and biomedical sciences and to engage more women in biomedical careers.

“The Vanderbilt Prize serves many worthwhile purposes,” said Steven Gabbe, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine.

“It recognizes the accomplishments of an outstanding woman scientist and honors all women scientists who have made important contributions to their fields.”

The Vanderbilt Prize awards $25,000 to the winner and funds a scholarship in that person's name to be awarded to a promising M.D./Ph.D. candidate beginning her studies at Vanderbilt. The prize winner will also serve on the thesis committee of the scholarship recipient as a condition of the award.

“This establishes an important mentoring relationship between this student and the Vanderbilt Prize winner,” Gabbe said.

Selection will be based on scientific achievement demonstrated by the publication of peer-reviewed research, leadership in biomedical science and positive contribution to the mentorship of other women in science.

In October 2005, the call for nominations was sent to the medical school deans across the United States and Canada as well as the Group on Research Advancement and Development (GRAND), a group of research deans within the Association of American Medical Colleges, which provides a national forum for the promotion, support, development and conduct of biomedical research in medical schools and teaching hospitals.

A total of 48 nominations were received from across the country.

“We were overwhelmed that, in its first year, we would receive so many nominations for this Prize,” Gabbe said.

An internal Vanderbilt panel of 12 judges have ranked the nominees and selected six finalists. An external review committee consisting of two women and three men are currently ranking the candidates and are expected to return their decisions soon.

Gabbe hopes to announce the winners of the Vanderbilt Prize and associated scholarship at “Second Visit Weekend” for incoming medical students, which takes place from March 31 to April 2.

In the fall, the Vanderbilt Prize recipient will visit campus to give a lecture and officially accept the prize at a ceremony in her honor.