Science Magazine And Amersham Pharmacia Biotech Honor Young Biologists

December 05, 1997

Washington, DC - Four young scientists have unlocked diverse mysteries, from how bacteria resist certain antibiotics to what triggers a severe birth defect that affects brain development. Their accomplishments have earned them the prestigious Pharmacia Biotech & Science Prize for 1997, given for outstanding achievements by doctoral students from all regions of the world. The winners will be honored on 9 December in Uppsala, Sweden, in a ceremony that coincides with the Nobel Prize festivities. The grand prize winner's essay will appear in the 5 December issue of Science.

"The Pharmacia Biotech & Science Prize recognizes the innovative ideas and hard work of graduate students, who so often provide the momentum for major discoveries in molecular biology," said Thomas Cech, the chair of the judging panel. He discussed the high quality of the work by the top applicants in the past three years: "It cuts across differences in country and continent, gender and ethnicity." Cech also is a Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Colorado as well as an investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and a deputy editor for Science magazine.

Applicants earned their Ph.D. in 1996 and submitted a 1,000-word essay based on their dissertations. They were judged on the quality of their research and their ability to articulate how their work contributes to the field of molecular biology. The judging panel can present awards in four different geographical areas (North America, Europe, Japan, and all other countries). The regional winners each receive $5,000; a grand prize winner is selected from the pool of regional winners and receives $20,000. This year's winners are as follows (biographies attached):

The Pharmacia Biotech & Science Prize for Young Scientists has been established to provide support to scientists at the beginning of their careers because both organizations believe that such is critical for continued scientific progress. Information on the prize and copies of the winning essays will be posted on Science Online ( and will be available on December 5.

"As the largest research-based biotechnology supplier, we are committed to fostering innovation and discovery among today's young scientists and the Pharmacia Biotech and Science Prize enables us to support these scientists as they begin their professional careers," said Julian Stubbs, vice president, corporate affairs and marketing programs, Amersham Pharmacia Biotech.

Science is an international journal that covers all scientific disciplines. It is published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world's largest general science organization. Last year, Science published the largest number of highly cited research papers to appear in a single journal, including ten of the top 33 papers of 1996 as listed by the Institute for Scientific Information. In 1995, Science teamed up with the international company Pharmacia Biotech to honor annually those young scientists whose Ph.D. dissertations had a major impact on the study of molecular biology (which investigates biological processes in terms of the physical and chemical properties of molecules in a cell.)

Amersham Pharmacia Biotech, created through the merger of the life science divisions of Amersham International plc and Pharmacia & Upjohn, is the world's largest research-based biotechnology supplier. The company is focused on developing proprietary systems solutions, including matrix/polymer chemistry, high throughput sequencing, drug screening and microarray technologies for various applications for research customers at leading academic centers and pharmaceutical, genetic, diagnostic and biotechnology companies. Headquartered in Uppsala, Sweden, Amersham Pharmacia Biotech has annual sales of $700 million and approximately 3,600 employees worldwide.

For a final copy of the winning essays, please contact the AAAS News & Information Office at 202-326-6440 (phone) or email

Press releases in Dutch, Flemish, and Japanese are available by contacting Diane Dondershine at 202-326-6421 or

American Association for the Advancement of Science

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