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2014 Distinguished Service Award Recipient Announced

February 19, 2014

SMT BWThe National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) will present the 2014 Distinguished Service Award (DSA) upon Shirley M. Tilghman, Ph.D., at the NPA's 12th Annual Meeting, to be held April 4 - 6 in St. Louis, Missouri.

Tilghman was elected Princeton University’s 19th president on May 5, 2001, assumed office on June 15, 2001, and served in that capacity until June 2013. An exceptional teacher and a world-renowned scholar and leader in the field of molecular biology, she served on the Princeton faculty for 15 years before being named president.

Tilghman, a native of Canada, received her Honors Bachelor of Science in chemistry from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, in 1968. After two years of secondary school teaching in Sierra Leone, West Africa, she obtained her Ph.D. in biochemistry from Temple University in Philadelphia.

During postdoctoral studies at the National Institutes of Health, she made a number of groundbreaking discoveries while participating in cloning the first mammalian gene, and then continued to make scientific breakthroughs as an independent investigator at the Institute for Cancer Research in Philadelphia.

Tilghman came to Princeton in 1986 as the Howard A. Prior Professor of the Life Sciences. Two years later, she also joined the Howard Hughes Medical Institute as an investigator. In 1998, she took on additional responsibilities as the founding director of Princeton’s multi-disciplinary Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics.

A member of the National Research Council’s committee that set the blueprint for the U.S. effort in the Human Genome Project, Tilghman also was one of the founding members of the National Advisory Council of the Human Genome Project for the National Institutes of Health.

She is renowned for her pioneering research in mammalian developmental genetics, for her national leadership on behalf of women in science, and for promoting efforts to make the early careers of young scientists as meaningful and productive as possible.

From 1993 through 2000, Tilghman chaired Princeton’s Council on Science and Technology, which encourages the teaching of science and technology to students outside the sciences, and in 1996 she received Princeton’s President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching. She initiated the Princeton Postdoctoral Teaching Fellowship, a program across all the science and engineering disciplines that brings postdoctoral students to Princeton each year to gain experience in both research and teaching.

In 2002, Tilghman was one of five winners of the L’Oréal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science. In the following year, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for Developmental Biology, and in 2007, she was awarded the Genetics Society of America Medal for outstanding contributions to her field.

Tilghman is a member of the American Philosophical Society, the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and the Royal Society of London. She serves as a trustee of Amherst College, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology,and as a director of Google Inc. 

The DSA award represents appreciation for an individual or entity that has demonstrated either a profound, sustained, or leadership contribution to improving the postdoctoral experience. The award is presented in alternating years to either an individual or entity.

Members of the Nominating Committee were: Antonio Nunez, Ph.D., associate dean of Academic Affairs, Michigan State University; Karen Peterson, Ph.D., director, Office of Scientific Career Development, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center; Jonathan Wiest, Ph.D., director, Director for Training and Education, National Cancer Institute; Darlene F. Zellers, Ph.D., associate dean of Postdoctoral Affairs, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Members of the Award Subcommittee were: Christine Des Jarlais, Ed.D., assistant dean for Postdocs & Career Development, University of California, San Francisco; Pallavi Eswara, Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, Pennsylvania State University, chair, 2014 Distinguished Service Award Committee; Padmesh Rajput, Ph.D., postdoctoral scientist, Neurology, Cedar-Sinai Medical Center; Mahadeo Sukhai, Ph.D., senior cancer research fellow, University Health Network, vice chair, National Postdoc Association Board of Directors.

Past recipients of the Distinguished Service Award are*:
2013 - Burroughs Wellcome Fund
2012 - Philip S. Clifford, Ph.D
2011 - Science Careers and The Gladstone Institutes
2010 - Trevor M. Penning, Ph.D., professor of Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Biophysics, and OB/GYN, and director of the Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology (CEET), University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
2009 - The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
2008 - Shirley Malcom, Ph.D., director, Education and Human Resources Programs, American Association for the Advancement of Science
2007 - Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
2006 - Laurel L. Haak, Ph.D., science director, Discovery Logics
2005 - National Academies' Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy
2004 - Ruth Kirschstein, M.D., senior advisor to the director, National Institutes of Health

*Title and institution at the time award was presented. 


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