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Dean’s Award for Exceptional Achievement for Advanced Students

All eleven winners of the 2021 award, standing in a line, in the same order in which they are listed in the body of this webpage. They are standing in a grass covered courtyard. A red brick wing of the Medical Center North building with windows is in the background.
Winners of the 2021 Dean’s Award

Graduate students in the biomedical sciences work tirelessly to master their research fields, learn advanced experimental methodologies, and tackle research projects at the forefront of knowledge. The best students make discoveries that change our conceptual understanding of basic biological mechanisms, reveal causes of human disease, or lead to changes in clinical practice. The Dean’s Award for Exceptional Achievement recognizes these outstanding students.

The recipients of the Dean’s Award for Exceptional Achievement for Advanced Students distinguish themselves during their graduate studies. All Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D. students who joined a School of Medicine laboratory for their thesis research are eligible for the award.

Nominations from faculty mentors with primary appointments in the School of Medicine should include a letter, the candidate’s CV, and an optional additional support letter. Nomination letters should confirm eligibility and address the evaluation metrics described below.

Nominations for the 2022 award are closed, and winners will be announced in July.


  • Must be a student in a Ph.D. program linked to the School of Medicine, which includes Biochemistry, Biomedical Informatics, Biostatistics, Cancer Biology, Cell and Developmental Biology, Chemical and Physical Biology, Epidemiology, Hearing and Speech Sciences, Human Genetics, Microbe-Host Interactions, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, Molecular Pathology and Immunology, Neuroscience, and Pharmacology. MSTP students are eligible.
  • Must have a mentor with a primary appointment in the School of Medicine.
  • Must have chosen a mentor and started their Ph.D. research in 2018 (typically, this refers to Ph.D. students who matriculated in graduate school in 2017).


  • Originality, significance, and rigor of dissertation research
  • Excellence in research discovery as evidenced by fellowship awards, publications, and presentations at conferences
  • Mastery of a discipline as evidenced by classwork, qualifying exam, and performance in committee meetings

Selection committee

Nominees will be evaluated by a committee consisting of the directors of graduate studies for each of the Ph.D.-granting programs in the School of Medicine. David Cortez, Professor of Biochemistry, will serve as chair and non-voting member of this committee for 2020. Questions can be directed to him at

Past winners


2022 Announcement


2021 Announcement


2020 Announcement


2019 Announcement