Rama Natarajan, Ph.D., professor in the Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology & Metabolism, is the inaugural recipient of Beckman Research Institute’s Scientist of the Year Award.
Citing her outstanding accomplishments as a scientist, scholar, collaborator and mentor, Richard Jove, Ph.D., director of Beckman Research Institute, presented Natarajan with the award at the institute’s 25th anniversary symposium on Friday, Oct. 3.
“I’m speechless,” said Natarajan, who received a standing ovation from her colleagues following the announcement of her name. “I want to dedicate this to my lab team. It’s their hard work I owe this to,” she said.
|Rama Natarajan, right, receives the inaugural Scientist of the Year Award, from Richard Jove. (Photo by p.cunningham)|
Natarajan also acknowledged the support of her Beckman Research Institute colleagues and thanked the late Rachmiel Levine, M.D. His guidance helped in “getting me through the many long nights,” she said.
Levine, former executive medical director at City of Hope, was a pioneer in the diabetes field — his colleagues dubbed him the “Father of Modern Diabetes Research.”
Natarajan joined City of Hope in 1990 from the University of Southern California Medical School. In the course of her career at Beckman Research Institute, her research has focused on diabetes-related damage to blood vessels and the kidney, including how the body’s inflammatory response is involved and how certain oxidized fatty molecules add to the harm.
“This is well-deserved recognition for Dr. Natarajan by her peers,” said Jove. “She has an outstanding record of scientific achievement, including high-impact publications, peer-reviewed extramural funding and mentoring of young scientists, and her research contributions are recognized both nationally and internationally.”
Jove presented Natarajan with the award during the First 25 Years and Beyond Symposium, which commemorated Beckman Research Institute’s silver anniversary with presentations from several noted institute researchers.
The symposium, one of a number of events celebrating Beckman Research Institute’s 25th anniversary, also featured a presentation from Patricia Beckman, daughter of the late Arnold and Mabel Beckman and a director of the foundation created by her parents. The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation provided the founding gift for Beckman Research Institute in 1983. They also gave the initial gift enabling City of Hope to build the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center for Cancer Immunotherapeutics and Tumor Immunology, slated for completion in 2009.
Jerry Gallwas, a Beckman Foundation director, offered his insights into the life, career and accomplishments of Arnold Beckman, Ph.D. Joseph Holden, Ph.D., director emeritus of Beckman Research Institute, and Steve Novak, Ph.D., associate dean of the Graduate School at City of Hope, each provided their perspectives on the history of research at City of Hope.
Other events that mark the institute’s anniversary include a special exhibition in the recently renovated Familian research building, a dinner for Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation representatives and other prominent donors who have supported the institute and a graduate school alumni reunion.