Meet the Winners of the Avanti Awards

Posted on April 02, 2020

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Although many of the meetings we were planning on attending have been canceled or rescheduled, including the Experimental Biology meeting that was set to take place April 4-7 in San Diego, Avanti still wants to acknowledge several award winners. The 2020 Annual Awards will be presented at the 2021 ASBMB Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, and nominations for the 2022 ASBMB Annual Awards will open in early 2021.

Keep reading for a little about our 2020 winners!

Dr. Jean Schaffer

2020 ASBMB Avanti Awards in Lipids

Dr. Jean Schaffer is the winner of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology’s 2020 Avanti Awards in Lipids. After graduating from Harvard Medical School, Schaffer pursued further clinical training in cardiology, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Later, in 1995, she joined the faculty at Washington University in St. Louis. There she built a lab studying lipid-induced metabolic stress and cell death, and was eventually promoted to full professor and director of Washington University’s Diabetes Research Center.

Schaffer’s other service to the field includes helping organize the Deuel and Kern conferences on lipids for several years, and her service as an associate editor for the Journal of Lipid Research, as well as on two other editorial boards.

Dr. Jeremy Baskin

2020 ASBMB Walter Shaw Young Investigator Award

Dr. Jeremy Baskin is the winner of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology’s 2020 Walter Shaw Young Investigator Award. He grew up in Montreal with an artistic family. His parents are classical musicians, and his younger sister is an actress. He pursued chemistry as an undergraduate at MIT and found a home among musicians there as well.

“It being MIT, it wasn’t populated with a bunch of future professional musicians,” said Baskin. “There was a lot of energy and focus on science and engineering majors that were doing music on the side.”

Baskin later joined Carolyn Bertozzi’s lab in 2004 at the University of California, Berkeley. Here he began developing chemical tools for imaging cell-surface glycans. Later, Baskin took a postdoctoral fellowship in the lab of Pietro De Camilli at Yale University in 2009. During his time at Yale, he narrowed his focus on membrane biology and lipid metabolism.

His lab primarily focuses on two types of phospholipids that represent extremes in terms of size—phosphatidic acids and phosphoinositides. Baskin’s lab recently has been focusing on phospholipase D, a precursor to several cancer-related phosphatidic acids that often is upregulated in cancer.

Dr. Sarah Riley

MSACL Catherine E. Costello Award for Females in Mass Spectrometry, sponsored by Avanti

Dr. Sarah Riley is the first-ever winner of the Mass Spectrometry: Applications to the Clinical Laboratory (MSACL) Catherine E. Costello Award for Females in Mass Spectrometry. She is the associate professor of pathology at Saint Louis University School of Medicine. Her research interests include forensic toxicology, global health, laboratory outreach, clinical mass spectrometry, and clinical toxicology.

Some of her other awards include the Paul E. Strandjord Young Investigator Award, With Distinction, the American Association of Clinical Chemistry Outstanding Speaker Award, the Early Career Women Faculty in Medicine and Science Leadership Seminar (with competitive application), and more. For more of the latest news in lipids, check out the News page on our website.