THE 2018 BLAVATNIK NATIONAL AWARDS FINALISTS: A YEAR OF SCIENTIFIC POSSIBILITIES
Xiangfeng Duan (University of California, Los Angeles) – As an inorganic materials chemist, Dr. Duan focuses on the design and synthesis of highly complex nanostructures with controlled chemical composition, structural morphology and physical dimensions. He places particular emphasis on the integration of nanoscale structures with different chemical composition, structure or function, thereby creating a new generation of integrated nanosystems with unprecedented performance or unique functions to break the boundaries of traditional technologies.
Neil Garg (University of California, Los Angeles) – Dr. Garg is a synthetic organic chemist who is a world leader in the synthesis of complex molecules. Some of his creative work involves the development of reactions involving cyclic alkynes, which are a chemical species traditionally considered too reactive to be useful. His reactions are now employed by the pharmaceutical industry to synthesize new drug candidates. Dr. Garg is considered an innovator in chemical education and has made significant contributions to the field of catalysis — developing new reactions that allow chemists to break bonds that were once considered unbreakable. [Garg recently received Baylor University’s Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching.]
“We created the Blavatnik Awards to identify the brightest young minds in science early in their scientific careers,” said Len Blavatnik, Founder and Chairman of Access Industries, head of the Blavatnik Family Foundation and member of the President’s Council of the New York Academy of Sciences. “These 31 Finalists, through their creative, cutting-edge research, have demonstrated great promise for future discoveries of enormous scientific importance.”
“The 31 National Finalists in the U.S. join the Blavatnik Awards community of scholars — a decade’s worth of Finalists and Laureates who are leading scientific research into the next century,” said Ellis Rubinstein, President and CEO of the New York Academy of Sciences and Chair of the Awards’ Scientific Advisory Council. “With continued support and recognition from the Blavatnik Awards, our goal is to launch these pioneering young scientists onto an even higher trajectory of scientific pursuit, giving them a visible platform to attract new collaborators, future grants, investors, and other key resources.”
The Blavatnik Awards, established by the Blavatnik Family Foundation in the United States in 2007, and administered by the New York Academy of Sciences, began by identifying outstanding scientific talent in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. The Blavatnik National Awards were inaugurated in 2014 and, in 2018, the Awards were expanded to include young scientists in the United Kingdom and Israel.