The Lasker Foundation congratulates the winners of the 2014 Lasker Essay Contest. Participants were asked to consider innovative ways to build support and ensure funding for medical research


First Place

Peter Soh, University of South Alabama School of Medicine

Peter Soh is a second-year medical student at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama. He was born in Detroit, Michigan, and was raised in metropolitan Detroit. He graduated high school from Cranbrook Kingswood. He received his BA in Economics, and MPH in Health Management and Policy, from the University of Michigan. He completed his post-baccalaureate program in pre-medicine at Northwestern University. This past summer, he completed clinical research on stroke risk in children with sickle cell disease at the University of South Alabama. He serves as vice-president for his school's chapter of the American Medical Association. Prior to medical school, he worked in finance as a market-maker in commodity derivatives. He also worked as a healthcare consultant serving state Medicaid agencies. 
Essay: Offering incentives for future scientists

 

Second Place

Michael Burel, NYU School of Medicine

Michael Burel is a PhD candidate in the Stem Cell Biology training program at the New York University School of Medicine. Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Michael graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Georgia in 2012 with a BS in Cellular Biology and a certificate in Interdisciplinary Writing. Michael now conducts his doctoral research under Erika Bach, where he was awarded the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship to study how a mutant stem cell can expel a pool of healthy stem cells from a tissue. In addition to his research, Michael is also the founder and content director of the science-as-art website Biocanvas, which seeks to revitalize the public's understanding of and passion for scientific endeavors through dramatic research images. 
Essay: Catalyzing broad public interest in scientific research

 

Third Place

Nick Andresen, University of Iowa, Carver College of Medicine


Nick Andresen is a second-year medical student at the University of Iowa, Carver College of Medicine. After growing up in Apple Valley, Minnesota, he studied Biology and Philosophy at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. Outside of coursework, he leads an interprofessional initiative to improve and sustain strong conflict of interest education and policy across the University of Iowa Health Sciences Campus. He spent this past summer researching the pathogenesis of osteoarthritis at the University of Iowa. 
Essay: Crowdsourcing a medical research donation database

 

Honorable Mention

Gregg Gonsalves, Yale School of Public Health

Gregg Gonsalves is a PhD candidate in the Department of the Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases at Yale School of Public Health, where his research focuses on using operations research and other quantitative methods to improve health programs and the response to infectious diseases worldwide. He is also a lecturer at Yale Law School and co-directs the Yale Global Health Justice Partnership. Gregg has been an AIDS activist for more than 20 years, and his work and that of his colleagues was profiled in the 2012 Oscar-nominated documentary How to Survive a Plague and in Steven Epstein 's book Impure Science: AIDS, Activism, and the Politics of Knowledge. He is former Open Society Foundations fellow and a former fellow in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and he was the inaugural recipient of the John M. Lloyd AIDS Leadership award, a $100,000 unrestricted grant in 2008. 

Essay: Researchers as advocates and activists

 

Read More About Lasker Essay Contest

 

Q & A with Peter Soh

Q & A with Peter Soh

We asked our 2014 Essay Contest winner, Peter Soh, to speak about how this award has affected his professional development and his views on communicating medical and science issues with the public.

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