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URMC / Biochemistry & Biophysics / Awards / Sayeeda Zain Award

Sayeeda Zain Travel Award

This award will be given annually in honor of Sayeeda Zain, a longtime member of the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics. This award will be given twice during the year, once in the spring and once in the fall.

Professor Zain did her Ph.D. work at Glasgow University, Scotland then came to USA to work with Sherman Weissman in the Dept of Human Genetics, Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale University where she carried out some of the very earliest and pioneering nucleic acid sequencing experiments, determining the sequence of parts of the SV40 virus.  She then took a position at The Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories where she collaborated with Richard Roberts' group, by applying her knowledge of sequencing to both adenovirus transcripts and genomic DNA.  Through these efforts, she co-discovered, with Louise Chow, the phenomenon of mRNA splicing, work for which Roberts later received the Nobel Prize, with Philip Sharp (Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 1993).

In 1978 Sayeeda took a faculty position in the Microbiology Department at the University of Rochester and later was hired into the Biochemistry Department by Chair Fred Sherman.  Sayeeda's research program focused on eukaryotic gene expression with specific emphasis animal models of Alzheimer's disease and molecular mechanisms of tumor metastasis.  Her lab cloned the mouse Mts1 gene and developed a transgenic mouse model overexpressing beta-amyloid protein involved in Alzheimers.  She collaborated with industry as well as other leading research institutions in the US and abroad, and licensed her transgenic mice and antibodies research. She is named co-inventor on six US Patents and several foreign patents. She taught in several courses, including the Molecules-To-Cells course.  Dr. Zain passed away in 2012, after a long and courageous battle with cancer.

The Sayeeda Zain Travel Award has been established by a generous gift by her family, to fund an endowment which will provide funds for the award.

The Sayeeda Zain Travel Award honors the distinguished career and charitable life of Dr. Sayeeda Zain.  The award will be given in recognition of research excellence to support travel and related expenses associated with attendance at a scientific conference or corporate internship to gain practical experience.  Special emphasis will be given to students or fellows giving presentations and to internships aimed at advancing the development of patentable applications.

Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows within the department of Biochemistry and Biophysics are eligible. Travel must occur within the calendar year in which the award is given.

Award Recipients

  • 2017 - Laxmi Mishra
  • 2017 - Matt Payea
  • 2017 - Debapratim Dutta
  • 2017 - Sierra Fox
  • 2017 - Hong Zhu