The Pearl Meister Greengard Prize


Lucy Shapiro, Ph.D. Awarded the 2014 Pearl Meister Greengard Prize

Dame Stephanie Shirley, Dr. Lucy Shapiro, and Dr. Marc Tessier-LavigneThe Rockefeller University is pleased to announce that  Lucy Shapiro, professor of developmental biology at Stanford University School of Medicine, was awarded the 2014 Pearl Meister Greengard Prize. The annual prize, which celebrates the achievements of outstanding women in science, was presented to Dr. Shapiro on the campus of The Rockefeller University on Tuesday, November 11, 2014.

Shapiro is a pioneering developmental biologist whose work on the single-celled Caulobactor bacterium illuminated the mechanisms that control the differentiation of cells in all living things, from the simplest organisms to the most complex.  Her discoveries led to an understanding of how DNA, which exists in a linear dimension, is translated into organisms that exist in three dimensions. Shapiro has garnered many accolades for her work, including the National Medal of Science, presented by President Obama in 2013.

The 2014 prize was presented by British entrepreneur and philanthropist Dame Stephanie “Steve” Shirley. Dame Stephanie was one of the first female computer programmers, and the first to take the profession freelance in the 1960s. She founded her own computer software company in 1962, overturning paradigms in the engineering field by hiring almost exclusively women, many of whom worked from home while juggling the demands of family.  She is the founder of the Shirley Foundation, which mainly supports research on autism spectrum disorders, as well as the study of the Internet’s evolving role in society.

The Pearl Meister Greengard Prize, awarded annually by The Rockefeller University, was established by Dr. Paul Greengard, the University’s Vincent Astor Professor, and his wife, the sculptor Ursula von Rydingsvard. Dr. Greengard donated his monetary share of the 2000 Nobel Prize in Medicine to Rockefeller and, in partnership with generous supporters of the University, created this major international prize. Named in memory of Dr. Greengard’s mother, who died giving birth to him, the Pearl Meister Greengard Prize provides recognition of the accomplishments of women in science.

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The Mind and Its Mysteries: Nobel Prize winner Paul Greengard and Sculptor Ursula von Rydingsvard

The biophysicist [Dr. Paul Greengard] and Ms. von Rydingsvard established the $100,000 Pearl Meister Greengard Prize, in partnership with other supporters of Rockefeller University. It’s awarded annually to women for outstanding achievements in science. Two recipients have gone on to win Nobel Prizes themselves. The 2014 award went to Lucy Shapiro, a developmental biologist at Stanford University. (read more)


December 18, 2014

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Publicizing the success of established female scientists is an additional incentive for female trainees to stay focused and do great science. To recognize outstanding female leaders in biology, Rockefeller neuroscientist and Nobel laureate Paul Greengard and his wife, sculptor Ursula von Rydingsvard, established the annual Pearl Meister Greengard Prize. (read more)

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