The Dr. Alan M. Gewirtz Memorial Scholarship supports outstanding trainee scientists and recognizes their contributions in the field of oligonucleotide therapeutics. OTS created the Dr. Alan M. Gewirtz Memorial Scholarship in 2011 as a tribute to his life and work. Dr. Gewirtz was very influential in the field of oligonucleotides as well as in the establishment of the OTS. His passing in November 2010 inspired the society to create the scholarship in his honor.
Application Deadline Has Passed
The recipient receives:
- $2,000 award
- Complimentary registration to the OTS Annual Meeting
- Formal presentation of the award at the OTS Annual Meeting
- Short talk speaking slot at the OTS Annual Meeting
Application: Required materials include:
-Applicant’s current contact information and affiliation
-Summary of accomplishments (one page or less)
-Current CV (for postdoctoral applicants, the date on which the doctoral degree was awarded must be provided )
-A letter of recommendation, preferably from the nominee’s current or previous mentor(s).
- Be a current member of OTS
- Be a current graduate student or postdoc
- For postdoctoral applicants, eligibility is limited to the first five years after receiving PhD or MD degree
- Be active in research at the time the award is given
- Attend the current year’s Annual Meeting and present a 15 minute short talk on his or her research
- Prior winners are not eligible
2017 Gewirtz Memorial Scholarship Winner:
Karyn Schmidt, PhD
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Talk Title: Inhibiting the Androgen Receptor Interaction with the Long Non-Coding RNA SLNCR using 2’-FANA-Modified Oligonucleotides Decreases Melanoma Invasion and Proliferation.
Biography: Karyn Schmidt received her PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Rochester in 2013, where she studied in the laboratory of J. Scott Butler. There, her work focused on determining the specificity of nuclear RNA degradation mediated by the TRAMP polyadenylation complex. Wishing to apply her fundamental protein-RNA biochemical expertise to clinically relevant questions, she next joined Carl Novina’s lab at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard Medical School. Her post-doctoral work has functionally characterized a novel long non-coding RNA, SLNCR, which regulates melanoma invasion and proliferation through ligand-independent regulation of the androgen receptor (AR). Intriguingly, this work provides a possible mechanistic explanation for the long-established melanoma gender bias in which men suffer worse outcomes than women. After careful biochemical characterization, Karyn designed single stranded RNA oligos to sterically block the SLNCR-AR interaction, decreasing both melanoma invasion and proliferation. Karyn is deeply committed to the advancement of oligonucleotide therapies and has recently joined Alnylam Pharmaceuticals to continue in these efforts.
Past Scholarship Recipients:
- 2016: Mayumi Takahashi, PhD, Beckman Research Institute, City of Hope
- 2015: Jana McCaskill, PhD, University of Edinburgh
- 2014: Dale Guenther, University of Idaho
- 2013: Guizhi Zhu, PhD, University of Florida
- 2012: Christopher J. Cheng, PhD, Yale University
- 2011: Aurelie Goyenvalle, PhD, University of Oxford