Congratulations to the winners of the 2017 Lasker Essay Contest! This year we asked participants to use at least one specific example, to propose ways in which breakthroughs in biomedical research can be made part of the daily global dialogue, so that a much wider public becomes better informed and more supportive of biomedical research endeavors.

First and second-place winners have been invited to the 2017 Lasker Awards Luncheon on September 15.

The winners and honorable mentions receive monetary prizes to be used towards educational expenses. The first-place prize is $10,000. Second-place prizes are $4000 each. Honorable mentions receive $1,000.

The winning essays are published on our website in their original form, without editorial review.

First Place

Abigail Cline, Medical College of Georgia

Abigail ClineAbigail Cline is an intern at the Medical College of Georgia. She grew up in Atlanta, earning her bachelor’s degree in Latin at Wake Forest University, her PhD in biochemistry at the University of Georgia, and her MD at the Medical College of Georgia. Her research and clinical interests are in translational and academic medicine, bioethics, and dermatology. She is currently seeking a dermatology residency following her preliminary year. She lives in Augusta, Georgia with husband, Hunter Appler.

Essay Science and Cinema: From the Benchtop to the Big Screen

Second Place

Tammy Tran, Johns Hopkins University

Tammy TranTammy Tran is a PhD candidate in the Psychological and Brain Sciences Program at The Johns Hopkins University. Originally from Los Angeles, she earned her Bachelor of Science with honors in Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin, focusing on studying the neural mechanisms underlying memory function in young adults. As a graduate student, she was awarded the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship. She uses functional neuroimaging to investigate changes in memory function in aging and Alzheimer’s disease.

Essay Science Is Everywhere: Unexpected Science Encounters in the Course of Everyday Life

Third Place

Michael Wu, Harvard Medical School

Michael WuMichael Wu is a medical student at Harvard Medical School in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. From Edina, Minnesota, Michael attended Harvard College. At Harvard, he worked in the lab of Shannon Turley studying the effects of tumor stroma on cancer immune surveillance, and graduated summa cum laude with an A.B. in Molecular and Cellular Biology. Since beginning his studies at Harvard Medical School, he has been working in the lab of Sandro Santagata at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital investigating molecular mechanisms in cancer biology. Outside of school and the lab, Michael is an avid cellist.

Essay Search for Science: Smart Search-linked Discussion Forums

Honorable Mentions

Jennifer Bratburd, University of Wisconsin Madison

Jennifer BratburdJennifer Bratburd is a PhD candidate in the Microbiology Doctoral Training Program at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She graduated from University of California, Berkeley with a B.S. in Microbiology with a focus on host-microbe interactions. She is currently studying how the human gut microbiota interacts with pathogens in the laboratory of Cameron Currie. Her interests include science outreach and science policy.

Essay Breaking through Barriers to Science with Citizen Science

Apurva Lunia, Mahatma Gandhi Medical College, Jaipur, India

Apurva LuniaApurva Lunia is a final year medical student at Mahatma Gandhi Medical College in Jaipur, India. She is interested in combining medicine, healthcare, social service, and literature. She is currently the National Public Health Officer for the Medical Students Association of India and Publications Assistant for the International Federation of Medical Students Association. Lunia is the recipient of Student Research Scholarship by Indian Council of Medical Research. Lunia holds a Visharad in Kathak (Classical Indian Dance) and her written work has been published in national and international student medical magazines and blogs.

Essay Dissemination of Biomedical Research Via Multimedia Platforms Using Existing Healthcare Frameworks

Jessica Sagers, Harvard University

Jessica Sagers, Harvard UniversityJessica SagersJessica Sagers is a rising fourth-year PhD student in the Program in Speech and Hearing Bioscience and Technology in the Division of Medical Sciences at Harvard Medical School. After completing premedical coursework and minors in Ancient Near Eastern History and Korean, she graduated magna cum laude from Brigham Young University with a BA and honors thesis in Linguistics. Jessica is currently performing her dissertation research at Massachusetts Eye and Ear in the laboratory of Konstantina Stankovic, where she works to identify and test novel drug therapies for vestibular schwannoma and neurofibromatosis type 2.

Essay Let’s Get Real: (Re)making Scientists Into People