Awards and Grants ×


New York, NY (Business Wire), March 26, 2024 - The Pershing Square Foundation today announced the seven winners of the “MIND” Prize (Maximizing Innovation in Neuroscience Discovery). Through the Prize, the Foundation strives to change the paradigm of neuroscience research by creating a community of next-frontier thinkers who can uncover a deeper understanding of the brain and cognition. Breakthroughs in basic scientific and translational research will yield critical tools for and knowledge of neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia, which affect millions of people worldwide.

The MIND Prize will catalyze novel interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary work by facilitating collaborations across academic departments and institutions and amongst the academic, biomedical industry, philanthropic, and business communities. The 2024 Prize winners will each receive $750,000, distributed $250,000 per year for three years.

“Cognitive Disease Disorders are holisms—wholes bigger than the sum of their parts—requiring us to apply systems-based thinking across cellular, organismic and behavioral scales,” said Pershing Square Foundation Co-Trustee Neri Oxman, PhD. "The winners of the 2024 MIND Prize embody such system-based thinking in their work, ranging from autoinflammatory early event detection to impacted lipid synthesis mechanisms all the way to ribosome programming and next generation DNA sequencing–based ‘biochemical microscopes.’ We look forward to honoring these contributions.”

Yocelyn Recinos was selected as a recipient of the 2024 Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research in recognition of the high quality and significance of her PhD thesis research in the Coordinated Doctoral Programs in Biomedical Sciences.  Yocelyn received her PhD in January 2024, and her thesis work – “Identifying Critical Regulatory Elements of Alternative Splicing” – was performed in Professor Chaolin Zhang’s lab in the Department of Systems Biology. 

Andrea Califano, Dr, has been honored with the 26th Alfred G. Knudson Award in Cancer Genetics by the National Cancer Institute(link is external and opens in a new window) (NCI) for his exceptional contributions to the field of cancer research. Califano, a pioneer in the field of cancer genetics, is the Clyde and Helen Wu Professor of Chemical and Systems Biology at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and a member of the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The award is named in honor of geneticist and cancer researcher Alfred G. Knudson, MD, a 1947 graduate of the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, who helped uncover several major genetic mysteries behind cancer leading to his “two-hit” hypothesis explaining the relationship between hereditary and non-hereditary cancer. The NCI presents this prestigious award to individuals who have advanced our understanding about the genetic workings of the disease.

Read full article on the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center news page.

The Glenn Foundation Discovery Award was created to support research projects with strong potential to develop pioneering discoveries to understand the underlying biological mechanisms that govern normal human aging and its related physiological decline.

Dr. Wu’s Discovery Award is titled "Aging as a self-reinforcing feedback loop: investigate the role of noncoding translation" and aims to open new lines of research into the complex interplay between multiple hallmarks of aging. Learn more about his ongoing research at Columbia here.

Read full article on American Federation for Aging Research page and Eurek Alert! page.

Brian J. Joseph, PhD, postdoc in Chaolin Zhang and Hynek Wichterle labs, was one of the five 2023 class New York Stem Cell Foundation postdoc fellows. Dr. Joseph is working to re-engineer RNA regulatory networks to create mature brain cells from stem cells that can be used to better understand neurodegenerative diseases as well as aging.  For details see


On Thursday, April 20, the UIC Alumni Association presented its annual Alumni Awards Ceremony honoring standout rising stars, humanitarians, distinguished service and exceptional achievement within UIC’s alumni community. Among the awards, the Alumni Achievement Award is the highest honor bestowed by UIC.

UIC=University of Illinois Chicago


Rodney Rothstein

BS ‘69, Biological Sciences

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences


Rodney Rothstein is an internationally recognized geneticist who studies yeast as a means to understand human diseases ranging from cancer to COVID-19. He graduated from UIC in 1969 with a major in biological sciences and obtained a PhD from the University of Chicago. He has been studying the molecular mechanisms by which naturally occurring breaks in DNA strands are mended using techniques that are fundamental to understanding how gene mutations cause disease. In 2009, Rothstein was awarded the Genetics Society of America’s Novitski Prize. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is currently a professor of genetics and development at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, where he has mentored the next generation of geneticists since 1984. Rothstein credits the faculty at UIC with providing the inspiration and confidence to pursue a career in genetics.



Andrea Califano will receive  $6,909,000 over seven years from the National Cancer Institute for “Predicting Cancer Cell Response to Endogenous and Exogenous Perturbations at the Single Cell Level”. The aims of the project are to create the first generation of genome-and proteome-wide network models that can effectively predict the probabilistic, dynamic response of mammalian cells to small molecule and genetic perturbations, as well as their ability to plastically reprogram  across the relatively small number of molecularly distinct states detected in a specific human malignancy.