2017 SDB Award Winners


The Society for Developmental Biology Board of Directors elected the following recipients for the 2017 SDB Awards.

Edwin G. Conklin Medal
Philippe M. Soriano, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Philippe M. Soriano is being recognized for his extraordinary and sustained research contributions to the field of developmental biology and mentoring of the next generation of scientists. His extensive work characterizing PDGF receptors, Src family of kinases, and Eph/ephrin has transformed our understanding of tyrosine kinase signaling mechanisms and how specificity is established during development.  He has uncovered a number of cell biological mechanisms involved in developmental processes such as neural crest cell migration/function and craniofacial development.  His loss-of-function c-Src mouse was one of the first targeted mutations in mice.  Throughout his career, Soriano has generated revolutionary tools that continue to advance the mouse development community.  He pioneered gene-trapping technology in embryonic stem cells and identified the ubiquitously expressed ROSA26 locus.  He then went on to generate the R26R Cre recombinase reporter mouse line, one of the most widely used mouse lines in the world.  Soriano was a Pew Scholar and received an NIH MERIT Award.  He is currently an Editor of Developmental Biology.

Viktor Hamburger Outstanding Educator Prize
Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Freeman A Hrabowski, III is being recognized for his outstanding contributions to developmental biology education through his advocacy for science education and groundbreaking initiatives for increasing diversity within the sciences. Hrabowski, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, co-founded the Meyerhoff Scholars Program which has increased the number of underrepresented minority students entering STEM graduate programs through its emphasis on quality mentoring and high expectations.  The program has been recognized by the National Science Foundation as a national model.  As a result of his record, Hrabowski chaired the National Academies’ committee that produced the report Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America’s Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads.  He was also named chair of the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans by President Obama.  Hrabowski is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a recipient of the U.S. Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring.

Elizabeth D. Hay New Investigator Award
Maria Barna, Stanford University
Maria Barna is the inaugural recipient of the Elizabeth D. Hay New Investigator Award for her outstanding research in developmental biology during the early stages of her independent career.  Barna has blazed a trail in the study of translational control of gene expression through ribosome specificity.  She showed that a mutation in a specific ribosomal protein (RPL38) disrupted protein synthesis in a subset of Homeobox mRNAs resulting in tissue-specific patterning defects. Her group has gone on to show that regulatory elements within the 5’ untranslated regions of these Hox genes are required for this ribosome-mediated control of gene regulation.  Recent work using ribosome profiling showed that key developmental pathways like Shh and Wnt are under an unexpectedly high level of translational control.  Barna is also at the forefront of live imaging of development.  Using single-cell real-time imaging her group beautifully showed how morphogens like SHH travel long distances in the limb bud via cytoplasmic extensions. 

Barna’s independent career began in 2007 as a Sandler Fellow at the University of California, San Francisco following her graduate work in Lee Niswander’s lab at Cornell University, Weill Graduate School of Medicine. In 2013, she became an Assistant Professor at Stanford University in the Departments of Developmental Biology and Genetics. Her numerous awards include the Rosalind Franklin Young Investigator Award, the American Society for Cell Biology Emerging Leader Prize, and the H.W. Mossman Award in Developmental Biology.

The SDB awards presentations will take place during the Awards Lectures session at the 76th SDB Annual Meeting in Minneapolis, MN on Sunday, July 16, 2017.

Last Updated 10/05/2017