An evolutionary biologist is one of two faculty members from The University of Texas at Austin who will receive Edith and Peter O'Donnell Awards from The Academy of Medicine, Engineering & Science of Texas (TAMEST) at its annual conference on Jan. 11.
The O'Donnell Awards were established to recognize and promote outstanding scientific achievements of the state's most promising researchers.
Daniel Bolnick, professor in the Department of Integrative Biology, will receive the 2017 O'Donnell Award in Science.
Bolnick has deepened scientists' understanding of how evolution and ecology intersect. His work often takes him into the natural world, including yearly trips to Canada to study parasite resistance in fish. By understanding how some fish are resistant to parasites, we could achieve a better understanding of our own immune systems, which could lead to better treatments for ailments ranging from allergies to Crohn's disease.
"It's this synthesis of ecology and evolution that's enabled him to open up a whole new area," says Daniel Jaffe, vice president for research at UT Austin. "This environment he's created for himself is really rich and ripe for the possibilities of discovery. He's really broken new ground across a very broad field that has a lot of impact."
Andrew Dunn, professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and director of the Center for Emerging Imaging Technologies, will receive the 2017 O'Donnell Award in Engineering. Meng Wang, associate professor of molecular and human genetics at the Baylor College of Medicine, will receive the 2017 O'Donnell Award in Medicine. (Watch the video about Dr. Dunn.)
TAMEST will present the awards during its annual conference in San Antonio. The awards were named in honor of Edith and Peter O'Donnell for their support of TAMEST, and include a $25,000 honorarium, a citation and an inscribed statue.