Regeneron announces creative innovation 2021 winners

By Samantha Black, PhD, ScienceBoard editor in chief

August 3, 2021 -- Regeneron announced the winners of its ninth annual Regeneron Prize for Creative Innovation, a competition designed to recognize creativity and independent scientific thinking among postdoctoral fellows and graduate students focused on biomedical research. This year's winners included Sergey Stavisky, PhD, of Stanford University and Nitsan Goldstein of the University of Pennsylvania.

Requests for applications are distributed to academic institutions in the late fall each year. Institutions are asked to nominate two graduate students and two postdoctoral fellows. Nominees attend a virtual competition during which they present their "dream project" proposals for innovations in biomedical research to a select committee of Regeneron scientists and leaders. Each submission must also include the candidate's curriculum vitae and a sample of publications that enable the selection committee to review each nominee's scholarly productivity.

Stavisky and Goldstein each received $50,000 in prize money, along with a $5,000 donation to their institution. Additionally, 10 other finalists were awarded $5,000 each.

Stavisky, a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford, studies neuroscience and neural engineering. He has developed brain-computer interfaces to restore speech and complex arm movements in Stanford's neural prosthetics translational laboratory under the guidance of Dr. Jaimie Henderson and Krishna Shenoy, PhD. Stavisky hopes his work will inform approaches for applying technological innovations to restore people's ability to communicate and move.

Goldstein studies neuroscience in the laboratory of Nicholas Betley, PhD, at the University of Pennsylvania, where she is a doctoral candidate. Her work focuses on the neural control of food intake, specifically how the gut communicates with hypothalamic neurons to signal satiety and how these neurons affect downstream circuits to alter motivation and reward. Her research has potential applications to the treatment of obesity and other metabolic disorders.

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