2019 Porter Prizes for Research Excellence

David Thaller

David Thaller

Meng Meng Fu

Meng Meng Fu

ASCB’s Award Selection Committee has chosen Meng-meng Fu, a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University, and David Thaller, a PhD candidate from Yale University, as the 2019 winners of the Porter Prizes for Research Excellence. Fu will receive $4,000, and Thaller will receive $2,000. Each will give a talk in a Minisymposium relevant to her or his research. Also recognized as Honorable Mentions are Andrea Stavoe, a postdoc at the University of Pennsylvania; Evanna Mills, a postdoc at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard Medical School; and Veena Padmanaban, a former Johns Hopkins graduate student and current postdoc at Rockefeller University, who will receive the Merton Bernfield Memorial Award (see p. 44).

Fu is a postdoctoral fellow in the neurobiology laboratory of the late Ben Barres. She earned her PhD with Erika Holzbaur, the William Maul Measey Professor of Physiology at the University of Pennsylvania. Holzbaur remarked that Fu “is one of the brightest, most motivated, and most creative students who has trained in my lab, putting her at the top of a very strong list. Meng-meng went up from my lab to a stellar postdoc in Ben Barres’ lab. Some of her groundbreaking work there was just accepted for publication…. This may be Ben’s last paper, and I think he would be particularly proud of how hard Meng-meng worked to complete this important study on her own, in the midst of the shutdown of the Barres lab.”

Thaller is earning his PhD in cell biology at Yale with associate professor Patrick Lusk. “Dave has been a major driver of the research in my laboratory over the last five years,” Lusk said. “He has played a singular role in catalyzing new research directions and establishing new techniques/technologies in my lab under the auspices of answering fundamental cell biological problems of subcellular compartmentalization. There is no question that Dave is outstanding and one of the top students in his class—he will be a scientific leader in the future.”

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Mary Spiro is ASCB's Science Writer and Social Media Manager.