Banerjee wins Stalker prize

Somalee Banerjee is the winner of the 2009 Stalker Award.

The prize is named in the honor of the late Harrison D. Stalker, Ph.D., who was professor of biology; a leading evolutionary biologist, geneticist and inspired teacher; and a true enthusiast of the fine arts.

The award is given to the graduating senior in biology in Arts & Sciences whose undergraduate career was marked by outstanding scientific scholarship as well as contributions to the University in areas of artistic expression and/or community service.

Banerjee will graduate with honors this May in biology and in fine art (painting).

Her scientific research was supported in part by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Sigma Xi and has resulted in an honors thesis in which she explores the proteomics of hypoxic preconditioning.

Her painting — a sample of which may be viewed at — has resulted in shows in both St. Louis and her hometown of Houston and is included in collections in both cities.

Despite the heavy demands of her dual-degree program, she has found time to volunteer during the academic year as a teaching assistant at the Missouri Botanical Garden and as a playroom aide at St. Louis Children’s Hospital as well as serving as president of the student body at the art school.

In addition, she spent a term interning with physicians in Nice, France, through the WUSTL Pre-Med in Nice program.

This fall, she plans to matriculate in the M.D. program at the School of Medicine to continue her preparation for a career in public health.