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    Haynes named finalist for 2018 Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists

Professor Christy Haynes is a National Finalist for the 2018 Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists—one of the top 10 candidates in the chemistry category. This is the second consecutive year that Haynes has been named a National Finalist.

The Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists announced the 31 U.S. National Finalists, Wednesday, May 30, who will compete for the world’s largest unrestricted prizes for early career scientists. Each year, three Blavatnik National Laureates in the categories of Life Sciences, Chemistry, and Physical Sciences & Engineering are awarded $250,000 each. The three 2018 National Laureates will be announced on June 27, 2018. The Blavatnik National Finalists were selected from 286 outstanding faculty-rank researchers nominated by 146 institutions across 42 states. These institutions comprise the nation’s leading academic and research centers, and each is requested to name their single most promising candidate in one or all of the three categories. The 2018 Blavatnik National Laureates and Finalists will be honored at the Blavatnik National Awards on Monday, September 24, 2018, at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

National Finalists in Chemistry

The 2018 National Finalists in Chemistry are making significant advances in chemical research that have the potential to improve people’s lives. Their research efforts range from deciphering the chemistry of the human gut microbiome and its connection to disease to developing novel materials that will increase the efficiency of next-generation solar cells. They have designed novel ways of assessing the toxicology of nanoparticles in the environment, developed new tools for labeling biomolecules, pioneered new quantum dot–based technologies and created nano-sized sensors capable of making non-invasive measurements of brain activity.

Professor Haynes

Professor Christy Haynes

Professor Haynes is an internationally recognized leader within the scientific community, and is one of the nation’s most talented analytical chemists. Her training combines laser spectroscopy and nanomaterials characterization with electrochemistry and immunology. She has built a unique research program that addresses questions at the interface of immunology, toxicology, materials science, and chemistry. She is a pioneer in the development of novel assays to assess the toxicology of nanoparticles in physiological and ecological systems. She has shown definitively that nanoparticles can alter cellular function and has been working to redesign nanoparticles so that they have maximal technological impact and minimal unintended consequences.

Her research group focuses on applications of analytical chemistry in the fields of immunology and toxicology, with much expertise in the area of single cell analysis. Another major focus encompasses studying fundamental properties of cells involved in inflammation. Her group has performed the first ever real-time single blood platelet measurements, examining the chemical messenger molecules that platelets secrete upon stimulation. While most of the Haynes lab research employs electrochemical and spectroscopic techniques, the group is always exploring new and exciting technologies to answer pressing bioanalytical questions.

Professor Haynes completed her undergraduate work at Macalester College in 1998 and earned a doctorate in chemistry at Northwestern University in 2003, under the direction of Richard P. Van Duyne. Before joining the faculty at the University of Minnesota in 2005, Haynes performed post-doctoral research in the laboratory of R. Mark Wightman at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Among her many honors, Haynes has been recognized as an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow, a Searle Scholar, a Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar, a National Institutes of Health "New Innovator," a 2018 Guggenheim Fellow, 2018 Theophilus Redwood Award from the Royal Society of Chemistry, and 2018 Craver Award recipient from the Coblentz Society. In addition to recognition for her research contributions, which includes more than 150 peer-review publications, she has been recognized by the University of Minnesota as an Outstanding Post-doctoral Mentor and the Sara Evans Faculty Woman Scholar/Leader Award. Professor Haynes is currently the Associate Head of the Department of Chemistry, the Associate Director of the National Science Foundation-funded Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology, and an associate editor for the journal Analytical Chemistry.

About the awards

Spearheaded by the Blavatnik Family Foundation and administered by the New York Academy of Sciences, the Blavatnik National Awards recognize both the past accomplishments and the future promise of the most talented scientific and engineering researchers aged 42 years and younger at America’s top academic and research institutions.

“We created the Blavatnik Awards to identify the brightest young minds in science early in their scientific careers,” said Len Blavatnik, founder and chairman of Access Industries, head of the Blavatnik Family Foundation and member of the President’s Council of the New York Academy of Sciences. “These 31 Finalists, through their creative, cutting-edge research, have demonstrated great promise for future discoveries of enormous scientific importance.”

Past Finalists have gone on to make discoveries that turn science fiction into reality, including creating plants that emit light or detect explosives, formulating new theories of time travel through black holes, bioengineering micro-robots that can swim through arteries and heart valves, gene-editing DNA and RNA sequences to treat previously incurable genetic diseases, and detecting infectious epidemic viruses through a cellphone. Blavatnik Scholars advance the progress of humanity through scientific discovery.

“The 31 National Finalists in the U.S. join the Blavatnik Awards community of scholars — a decade’s worth of Finalists and Laureates who are leading scientific research into the next century,” said Ellis Rubinstein, president and chief executive officer of the New York Academy of Sciences and chair of the Awards’ Scientific Advisory Council. “With continued support and recognition from the Blavatnik Awards, our goal is to launch these pioneering young scientists onto an even higher trajectory of scientific pursuit, giving them a visible platform to attract new collaborators, future grants, investors, and other key resources.”

The Blavatnik Awards, established by the Blavatnik Family Foundation in the United States in 2007, and administered by the New York Academy of Sciences, began by identifying outstanding scientific talent in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. The Blavatnik National Awards were inaugurated in 2014 and, in 2018, the awards were expanded to include young scientists in the United Kingdom and Israel. By the close of 2018, the Blavatnik Awards will have conferred prizes totaling $6.6 million, honoring 271 outstanding young scientists and engineers.

About the Blavatnik Family Foundation
The Blavatnik Family Foundation is an active supporter of many leading educational, scientific, cultural, and charitable institutions in the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel, and throughout the world. Recipients of Foundation support include University of Oxford, Harvard University, Yale University, Tel Aviv University, Stanford University, New York University, the New York Academy of Sciences, Tate, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Carnegie Hall, the Royal Opera House, the Hermitage Museum, the Israel Museum, Lincoln Center, Jewish charitable organizations, and countless other philanthropic institutions. The Foundation is headed by Len Blavatnik, a major American and British entrepreneur and philanthropist. Len Blavatnik is the founder and chairman of Access Industries, a privately held U.S. industrial group with global strategic interests in natural resources and chemicals, media and telecommunications, venture capital, and real estate. 

About the New York Academy of Sciences
The New York Academy of Sciences is an independent, not-for-profit organization that since 1817 has been driving innovative solutions to society’s challenges by advancing scientific research, education, and policy. Throughout its history, the Academy's membership has featured thinkers and innovators from all walks of life, including U.S. Presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe, Thomas Edison, Lord Kelvin, Charles Darwin, Margaret Mead, Louis Pasteur, and more than 130 Nobel Laureates. Today, the Academy numbers more than 20,000 Members in 100+ countries, with a President's Council that includes 36 Nobel Laureates and a distinguished Board of Governors comprised of leaders from business, academia, and philanthropy. It is also young and dynamic with nearly 10,000 post-doctoral, post-graduate, undergraduate, and gifted high school student members. Through collective action, the Academy is partnering with the United Nations to address its Sustainable Development Goals, advising national leaders and organizing public-private partnerships to address the grand challenges of the planet.