Two UCSF Graduate Students Receive Weintraub Award


Christopher Baker and Paolo Manzanillo have both been granted a prestigious Harold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Baker, a postdoc and recent graduate from the Tetrad/Genetics program at UCSF, and Manzanillo, who just finished his studies in the Tetrad/Biochemistry and Molecular Biology program, were selected on the basis of the quality, originality and significance of their work.  Nominations for the award were solicited internationally.

The thirteen 2013 award recipients, all advanced students at or near completion of their studies in the biological sciences, will present their research in a scientific symposium on May 3 at the Hutchinson Center in Seattle.  The awardees also receive an honorarium and certificate.

Baker’s research focuses on how evolutionary history has shaped the behavior and architecture of gene regulatory networks. Cells have evolved complex networks, referred to as gene regulatory networks, which coordinate the expression of genes across the genome.

As a graduate student, Baker studied the transcriptional network controlling mating-type determination in yeasts as a model gene regulatory network. Baker is currently a postdoc in Alexander Johnson’s lab, where he also did his thesis work. He will be joining Dr. Krishna Niyogi’s lab at UC Berkeley as a postdoc later this spring.

Manzanillo’s research in Dr. Jeffrey Cox’s lab at UCSF focuses on the innate immune response to mycobacterium tuberculosis infection. By understanding the host genes and factors that play a vital role in controlling mycobacterial replication, Manzanillo hopes his research will lead to the development of novel treatments for TB, which affects over 1.7 billion people worldwide.

Manzanillo has just finished his degree requirements and will be a postdoc at Genentech starting in April.

The Weintraub Award and related symposium honor the late Harold M. Weintraub, PhD, a founding member of the Basic Sciences Division at the Hutchinson Center, who in 1995 died from brain cancer at age 49.

Weintraub was an international leader in the field of molecular biology, and according to his colleagues, was instrumental in establishing a collegial atmosphere at the Hutchinson Center.