Dr. Cecilia Moens' work with zebrafish represents new wave of research that may shed new light on the genetics of cancer and craniofacial defects
When Cecilia Moens, Ph.D., describes her passion for zebrafish as a model of genetics, phrases such as "spawning all over the place" and "casting around" roll off her tongue without a hint of irony. It's hardly surprising that fishy phrases pepper her speech, considering that Moens is surrounded by 15,000 of the little black-and-white-striped creatures in her tank-lined laboratory at Seattle's Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
Moens' work with zebrafish, a relatively new model of vertebrate developmental biology, may shed new light on the genetics of cancer as well as craniofacial defects. In recognition of her contributions to this new field, President Clinton today announced that Moens has been selected as a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers, or PECASE. The award is described by the White House as the nation's highest honor for young professionals at the beginning of their research careers.
Moens is among 60 researchers nationwide who will accept the honor at 2 p.m. EST tomorrow at the White House. Other Seattle winners include the University of Washington's David W. Russell, M.D., an assistant professor of medicine; and Nate Mantua, a climate scientist (please see editor's note for more information).
Eight federal departments together nominate the recipients of this annual award; the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, a branch of the National Institutes of Health, selected Moens for the honor.
"I'm delighted to have been chosen for this award -- it's a very great honor to receive this kind of recognition so early in my career. It's a testament to the broad-mindedness of the people at the National Institutes of Health that they recognize the relevance of zebrafish developmental biology to human development and disease," says
Contact: Kristen Woodward
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center