The Department of Biology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis has selected Shyam Akula as the inaugural recipient of the Quatrano Prize, which will be awarded annually for the most creative biology thesis project.
The award is given in honor of Ralph Quatrano, the Spencer T. Olin Professor of Biology and former chair of the department in Arts & Sciences. A generous donation by Katherine Day Reinleitner established the award, and it will honor the biology thesis showing the greatest evidence of creativity in design, research methodology, and/or broader scientific implications.
Akula has worked in the laboratory of Joseph Dougherty, assistant professor of genetics and of psychiatry at the School of Medicine, and was mentored by Susan Maloney, a postdoctoral fellow in genetics and psychiatry. His thesis was titled “Modeling Effects of Developmental SSRI Exposure: Communication, Growth, and Gait in Mouse Models of Neurodevelopmental Disorders.”
Akula expects to graduate in May with a degree in neurobiology and a minor in psychological and brain sciences. Looking ahead, Akula plans to attend Harvard’s MD/PhD program.