Best & Brightests University of Washington 2007 Recognition Awards |  A special supplement to University Week | uweek.org
 



UW AWARDS 2007 HOMEPAGE

UWEEK.ORG HOMEPAGE

DISTINGUISHED TEACHING AWARD
Douglas Black, Pharmacy
Lauro Flores, Ethnic Studies
Matt Sparke, Geography/ Jackson School
Terry Swanson, Earth & Space Sciences
Crispin Thurlow, Communication
G. Kent Nelson, Business, UW Tacoma
David Goldstein, UW Bothell

EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING AWARD
Jerusha Achterberg, Anthropology
Alex Coverdill, Biology

DISTINGUISHED STAFF AWARD
Marne Faber, Harborview
Elaine Franks, Psychology
Pam Robenolt, Athletics
Cynthia St. Clair, Music
Deborah Flores, Engineering

BROTMAN AWARD FOR INSTRUCTIONAL EXCELLENCE
Program on the Environment
MIRT, Epidemiology

DISTINGUISHED CONTRIBUTIONS TO LIFELONG LEARNING AWARD
Jan Spyridakis, Technical Communication

OUTSTANDING PUBLIC SERVICE AWARD
Erasmo Gamboa, Ethnic Studies

JAMES D. CLOWES AWARD FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF LEARNING COMMUNITIES
James Gregory, History

S. STERLING MUNRO PUBLIC SERVICE TEACHING AWARD
J. Carey Jackson,  Medicine

DAVID B. THORUD LEADERSHIP AWARD
Eve Riskin, Electrical Engineering
Don Wulff, UW Center for Instructional Development and Research (CIDR)

MARSHA L. LANDOLT DISTINGUISHED GRADUATE MENTOR AWARD
Raj Bordia, Materials Science

ALUMNUS SUMMA LAUDE DIGNATUS
Dan Evans

ALUMNI ASSOCIATION DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD
Dawn Williams

PRESIDENT'S MEDAL
Minh-An Nguyen, Biochemistry/ Chemistry
Elise Saba, English


UW Best and Brightest 2007 | PDF edition
UW Best and Brightest 2007
PDF print edition




Linda Buck

Adapted from an article by Eric McHenry in Columns Magazine

Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it helped Linda Buck become an outstanding scientist so outstanding that she was named the co-winner of the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Now the 1975 UW graduate has another feather in her cap. She's the University's Alumna Summa Laude Dignata. The honor is given not for particular work but for a lifetime of achievement. It is the highest honor the University confers on a graduate.

Buck earned UW degrees in psychology and microbiology, then headed to the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center to study immunology. It was there that she came into her own as a scientist, and acquired a reputation for her insatiable curiosity.

Her mentor there, Ellen Vitetta, says that at a Christmas party that featured impersonations of department staff, the woman who portrayed Buck simply wandered the stage asking questions.

But it was during post doctoral work in Richard Axel's lab at Columbia University that Buck found the right question to ask How does the human nose work? She and Axel went looking for odorant receptors proteins that pick up smell molecules and excite the olfactory neurons in the back of the nose.

Buck estimates she worked 15 hours a day for two and a half years on the project. In 1991 she and Axel ultimately wrote a breakthrough paper that first identified the family of genes that allows humans to detect and distinguish smells.

After that publication, Buck became a professor at Harvard, where she remained until she was recruited to join the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in 2002. She's a member of the Basic Science Division, and it's basic science that Buck has stumped for since winning the Nobel.

"I realized, when I got the phone call, that I would have a new set of responsibilities," she says, "having to do with communication with the public about the importance of basic science."