The John B. Pierce Laboratory


Mary Burke selected to receive two awards

Congratulations to Mary Burke, Yale graduate student in the lab of Dr. Dana Small, who has been selected to receive the Annie Le Fellowship Award of 2016, and as part of the Yale Neuroscience Outreach Program, the Seton Elm-Ivy Award.

Ms. Burke will be recognized as the Annie Le Fellow for a single year beginning on September 1st.  To honor the memory of Annie Marie Le, a Yale graduate student between 2007 and 2009, Yale University established the Annie Le Fellowship Fund to benefit Ph.D. students in the Combined Program in the Biological and Biomedical sciences.  Each year one or more BBS students are selected for this monetary Fellowship.  Mary will be recognized for her exceptional academic achievements and service to Yale and the community by the Dean of the Graduate School at the annual Convocation ceremony in May.

Ms. Burke is part of the Yale Neuroscience Outreach Program which has been selected to receive a Seton Elm-Ivy Award.  Each year, outstanding efforts to sustain and expand the partnership between Yale University and the City of New Haven are recognized through the Seton Elm-Ivy Awards which were started in 1979 through the inspiration and support of Fenmore (Class of ’38) and Phyllis Seton, who established an endowment at the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven to support the awards ceremony.  Elm Awards are given to members of the New Haven community and Ivy Awards are given to Yale staff, faculty, and students.  The Seton Elm-Ivy Awards will be presented this year by President Peter Salovey and Mayor Toni Harp at a special luncheon on April 5th at the Presidents’ Room at Woolsey Hall.

Animals, from flies to humans, use olfaction to find resources, such as food and mates. How do such different creatures, with such different brains, all share this ability?

Dr. Justus Verhagen, an Associate Fellow at The John B. Pierce Laboratory, along with a multi-disciplinary team of researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder, University of California-Berkeley, Weill Cornell Medical College, the University of Pittsburgh, and New York University Medical Center are working to uncover the algorithmic and mechanistic processes governing this deeply embedded behavior.

This project is one of three funded by a $15M National Science Foundation initiative to unravel the mysteries of olfaction. The awards expand the NSF’s investments in the president’s BRAIN Initiative, and are funded by NSF’s Directorates for Biological Sciences and Mathematical and Physical Sciences.

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