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Neuroscientist Tamily Weissman-Unni Recognized With Scientific Research Award

November 20, 2017

The M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust has recognized Tamily Weissman-Unni, associate professor of biology and program cochair of neuroscience, with the 2017 Lynwood W. Swanson Promise for Scientific Research Award. This prestigious award highlights one junior faculty member in the Trust’s region – Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington – who has demonstrated exceptional potential in establishing a productive and nationally recognized research program through early research and work with students. The recognition comes with a $7,500 grant to further support Weissman-Unni’s research with undergraduates.

The Trust invited Lewis & Clark to nominate one faculty member to be considered for this award, and Weissman-Unni’s nomination materials made it abundantly clear why she was the best candidate. As a letter of nomination stated, “there are so many reasons that Tamily Weissman is deserving of this recognition—including but not limited to her high quality and productive research accomplishments, her meaningful and caring engagement of undergraduate students, her leadership in developing and promoting research at Lewis & Clark and beyond, and the likelihood that she will continue on this path.”

In presenting this award to Professor Weissman-Unni at the 2017 Murdock College Science Research Program Conference in Spokane on November 10, the Trust’s Executive Director Steve Moore stated, “These awards bring to light shining examples of educators in the Pacific Northwest who are investing in our collective future through their research and their mentorship of students.” Indeed, the Trust is very familiar with her research—she is the recipient of several of their competitive grants, including a Research Start-up Award, two Natural Sciences Research grants, and a Collaborative Research Alliance involving Reed College and Whitworth University.

Weissman-Unni’s research asks basic questions about how a complex nervous system forms from a tiny cluster of cells, how cells interact with each other during development, and why some cells surprisingly die during both development and disease. Beyond these specific research questions, she is also passionate about training the next generation of scientists. By incorporating undergraduate students into every aspect of her work, students develop into strong scientists and learn to communicate their science confidently and effectively to others.

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