ASCB Announces 2023 Honorific Awards and Recognition

2023 Award Winners

The American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) celebrates these remarkable individuals for their various achievements in the realm of life sciences.

ASCB takes immense pride in presenting honorific awards to honor our extraordinary members. These accolades hold special significance as they symbolize the brilliance of our peers in research, education, mentoring, and their unwavering dedication to the Society. Please join us in congratulating our colleagues for their remarkable contributions and for serving as an endless source of inspiration and motivation.

The following people were recognized by either receiving an honorific award or being invited to present a keynote speech or lecture.

WICB Sandra K. Masur Senior Leadership Award: Bestowed by the Women in Cell Biology Committee (WICB) to any later-stage career scientist with outstanding scientific achievements and a record of active leadership in mentoring women and individuals from underrepresented groups.

  • Ora Weisz, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Faculty Excellence, Health Sciences, Associate Dean for Faculty Development, School of Medicine, Vice Chair for Faculty Development, Department of Medicine, Professor of Medicine and of Cell Biology, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburg

Public Service Award: Honoring national leadership and outstanding public service in support of biomedical research or advocacy of sound research policies. Awardee selected by the Public Policy Committee.

E.B. Wilson Medal: Presented to distinguished researchers for their far-reaching contributions to cell biology over a lifetime in science.

  • Tom Misteli, NIH Distinguished Investigator, Laboratory of Receptor Biology and Gene Expression, NCI/CCR

Bruce Alberts Award for Excellence in Science Education: Given to an individual who has demonstrated innovative and sustained contributions to science education, prioritizing the national impact of the nominee’s activities.

  • Sue Wick, Professor Emerita, Departments of Plant & Microbial Biology, and Biology Teaching & Learning, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

E.E. Just Lecture: Honoring the early 20th-century biologist Ernest Everett Just, who made foundational contributions to cell and developmental biology, to recognize the outstanding scientific achievements of a U.S. researcher belonging to a historically excluded racial or ethnic group. Awardee selected by the Minorities Affairs Committee.

  • Kandice Tanner, Senior Investigator, Laboratory of Cell Biology, NCI/CCR

Keith R. Porter Lecture: Named in memory of Keith R. Porter and presented to an outstanding and innovative leader at the forefront of cell biology, actively contributing fundamental new knowledge to our understanding of cell biology.

  • David G. Drubin, Professor, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley

The David Burgess Award for Excellence in Inclusivity: Recognizing one scientist who has a track record of excellence in research or serves a critical role in fostering cell biology research and, has demonstrated the importance of inclusion and diversity in science through mentoring, cultural change, outreach, or community service.

  • Xuebiao Yao, Professor and Director, University of Science and Technology of China, Cellular Dynamics

Mentoring Keynote: An invited speaker who exemplifies mentoring by their impact on training scientists and scholars belonging to underrepresented groups, particularly racial and ethnic minorities. Awardee selected by the Minorities Affairs Committee.

  • Antentor Hinton, Jr., Assistant Professor, Ernest E. Just Early Career Investigator, Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, Vanderbilt School of Medicine Basic Sciences

Scholarship of Diversity Keynote: An invited speaker chosen by the co-PIs of the Innovative Programs to Enhance Research Training grant and approved by the Minorities Affairs Committee.

  • Joan Y. Reede, Dean for Diversity and Community Partnership, Harvard Medical School

ASCB Award for Excellence in Research by an Historically Excluded Person (HEP): Presented to an early career ASCB member who self-identifies as a Historically Excluded Person (HEP) for 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.

WICB Junior Award for Excellence in Research: Presented to a woman or non-binary person in an early stage of their career 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.

  • Sonya Neal, Associate Professor, Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, University of California San Diego

Günter Blobel Early Career Award: Given to an outstanding early career life scientist who has served as an independent investigator for no more than seven years at the time of nomination.

Innovation in Research: Recognizes early and mid-career scientists for their new and innovative research in cell biology. For this purpose, innovation is defined as an accomplishment that significantly impacts progress in advancing the field of cell biology and is based on work done within three years before the nomination.

  • Sara Wickström, Professor, Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine

Innovation in Education Award: Given to an individual demonstrating innovation in education, defined as a novel educational accomplishment significantly impacting achieving ASCB’s mission. The innovation should be aligned with the core tenets of the ASCB Declaration on Effective and Inclusive Undergraduate Biology Education.

  • Jeff K. Moore, Associate Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

Porter Prizes for Research Excellence: Prizes are given to graduate students and postdoctoral researchers based on scientific excellence. In the spirit of Keith Porter, the emphasis will be on their contributions to the advancement of science and the novelty and creativity of their findings.


  • Tatsat Banerjee, ChemBE Graduate Student, Devreotes Lab and Iglesias Lab, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine


  • Kathryn Gunn, Postdoctoral Fellow, Saskia Neher Lab, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Michael Skowyra, Research Fellow in Cell Biology – HHMI, Harvard Medical School

Merton Bernfield Memorial Award: Established to honor outstanding postdocs or graduate students with member donations in memory of pediatrician and cell biologist Merton Bernfield.            

  • Coral Zhou, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, Berkeley

MBoC Paper Award: Awarded to the first author on a paper (grad student or postdoc) chosen by the Editorial Board of ASCB’s science research journal, Molecular Biology of the Cell (MBoC), as the best papers published from June of the previous year to May.

About the Author:

This post was collaboratively written by several ASCB staff members.