Long and Gracheva named finalists for Blavatnik young scientist award

Two Yale faculty members are finalists for Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists, the world’s largest unrestricted prize for early-career scientists.

Two Yale faculty members — Maureen Long and Elena Gracheva — are finalists for 2020 Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists, the world’s largest unrestricted prize for early-career scientists.

Thirty-one scientists have been chosen as finalists from 305 nominations representing 161 academic and research institutions in the U.S. The finalists will compete for three awards in the fields of chemistry, physical sciences and engineering, and life sciences.

Each winner will receive $250,000. The winners will be announced July 22.

Maureen Long
Maureen Long (Photo credit: Tony Fiorini)

Long, professor of geology and geophysics in the Faculty of Arts and Science, is a finalist in the physical sciences and engineering category.

Officials for the awards said Long is “fundamentally changing our understanding of how processes deep in the Earth’s mantle affect surface manifestations such as the motions of tectonic plates. Long’s interdisciplinary research makes use of seismic wave activity from distant earthquakes to better understand how the Earth’s mantle flows deep beneath the Earth’s surface.”

Elena Gracheva
Elena Gracheva

Gracheva, an associate professor of cellular and molecular physiology and neuroscience at the Yale School of Medicine, is a finalist in the life science category for her research into the biological underpinnings of hibernation.

Elena Gracheva discovered that cells and organs in hibernating animals enter a state of ‘suspended animation’ to withstand months of starvation, water deprivation, and frigid temperatures,” award officials said. “A full grasp of hibernation physiology can help scientists determine if and how inducing a hibernation-like state in humans could help improve organ transplantation, promote recovery from brain injury, and even enable long-distance space travel.”

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Media Contact

Fred Mamoun: fred.mamoun@yale.edu, 203-436-2643