Alex Chen and Yixi Wang, seniors majoring in biology in Arts & Sciences, have been awarded the 2018 Ralph S. Quatrano Prize.
Established through a generous donation by Katherine Day Reinleitner, the Quatrano Prize is awarded to the thesis showing greatest evidence of creativity in design, research methodology and/or broader scientific implications. The award is given in honor of Ralph Quatrano, the Spencer T. Olin Professor Emeritus and former chair of biology.
Chen’s thesis work explores representations of familiarity and novelty in the early olfactory system of the American locust and is titled “Encoding the expectation of a sensory stimulus.” His mentor was associate professor Barani Raman, associate professor in the School of Engineering & Applied Science. Chen is graduating with a double-major in biology, in the neuroscience track, and mathematics, as well as a minor in the medical humanities.
Wang’s thesis, titled “Development of diabetic zebrafish model for genetic screening,” was based on her work in the laboratory of Colin G. Nichols, the Carl F. Cori Professor at the School of Medicine. Wang’s work lends further support to the use of zebrafish in research about metabolic diseases such as diabetes, including research into disease modifiers that could someday benefit human patients. Wang is graduating in May with a major in biology, in the ecology and evolution track, and minors in art and in Chinese language.
After graduation, Chen will pursue a PhD in neuroscience at Harvard University. Wang will attend medical school, but she has not yet committed to a program. The two will receive their prize during a biology award reception May 16.