Tu named North American finalist in Young Scientist Award competition

Dr. Benjamin Tu, a postdoctoral fellow at UT Southwestern, recently was named the North American finalist in worldwide competition for the 2004 Young Scientist Award, sponsored by the journal Science, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and GE Healthcare.

The award recognizes extraordinary achievement by a young scientist in molecular biology. Dr. Tu's doctoral thesis, titled "Biochemical Basis of Oxidative Protein Folding in the Endoplasmic Reticulum," was named best in North America, which came with a $5,000 prize.

"There are so many people doing outstanding work in biology, and I am lucky to have been chosen as one of the winners amongst them," said Dr. Tu, who completed his winning work on protein folding at the University of California, San Francisco, before joining the laboratory of Dr. Steven McKnight, chairman of biochemistry at UT Southwestern. He is currently dissecting the origins of circadian rhythms with Dr. McKnight.

"I chose to do my postdoc in the McKnight lab because I really like the general research interests of the lab as well as Steve's approach to doing science. He is not afraid to think big and outside the box and to do whatever it takes to solve the problem." Dr. Tu said.

Dr. McKnight said, "It is wonderful that the person judged to have completed the best Ph.D. thesis in molecular biology in Mexico, Canada and the United States decided to come to UT Southwestern for his postdoctoral training."

In 2002 Dr. Jared Rutter, then a UT Southwestern graduate student in Dr.  McKnight's lab, won the overall competition, including a $25,000 prize for his seminal work on the cyclical nature of metabolism.