Shirin Bahmanyar named 2022 WICB Junior Award for Excellence in Research

Shirin Bahmanyar, associate professor in the Department of Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology at Yale University, has received the 2022 Women in Cell Biology (WICB) Junior Award for Excellence in Research. She presented the talk “Regulation of lipid metabolism from the nuclear envelope” on Sunday, December 4, at Cell Bio 2022 in Washington, DC.  

Shirin Bahmanyar Associate Professor Department of Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology Yale University Photo by Tony Fiorini

The American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) awards this recognition to a woman or non-binary person in an early stage of their career who is making exceptional scientific contributions to cell biology, developing a strong independent research program, and exhibiting the potential for continuing at a high level of scientific endeavor and leadership.

“I am incredibly honored to receive this prestigious honor from the ASCB!” Bahmanyar exclaimed. “The ASCB and WICB have played a major part in my scientific journey and it is incredibly humbling to be among the company of the incredible prior awardees who are leaders in their field. I am overjoyed that the scientific contributions of my lab members are being recognized through this award.”

Bahmanyar’s laboratory is trying to understand mechanisms that control the organization of membrane bound organelles, with an emphasis on the endoplasmic reticulum (ER).

“The ER is made up of structurally and functionally distinct domains that include the nuclear envelope.” Bahmanyar said. “We want to understand the requirements to make separable domains within the ER. A major focus is on how — beyond serving as a membrane barrier—the lipid chemistry of the nuclear envelope is fundamentally important to its unique identity and function in genome regulation and protection.”

Her lab is taking an interdisciplinary approach to solving these puzzles by “combining quantitative high-resolution fluorescence live cell imaging with genome engineering (in both vertebrate cells and C. elegans) and the expertise of our collaborators in cutting edge microscopy methods (super-resolution and EM tomography) and biophysical approaches.”

Along with her research, Bahmanyar is committed to mentoring and promoting an inclusive, safe, and supportive research environment. In her essay for The Royal Society, Valuing Diversity as a Scientist, she shared how role models—particularly women—were essential to her career success.  

She and her lab members are also committed to DEI work, including partnering with the Yale Pathways to Science program, a data-driven STEM outreach infrastructure for high school students. Every summer, her lab members run a summer workshop on “Model Organisms in Biology – the Might worm” to teach high school students the importance of biological research. Bahmanyar’s work was profiled previously on the ASCB website. 

About the Author:

Mary Spiro is ASCB's Strategic Communications Manager.