Aseem Z. Ansari, an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and Ava J. Udvadia, an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, are the recipients of the 2006 Shaw Scientist Award. Each will receive $200,000 in unrestricted funds. The prize is awarded annually to young researchers in Wisconsin who are working in the fields of biochemistry, the biological sciences, and cancer research. It is designed to help them explore novel research directions.
Ansari is creating chemical mimics of a class of transcription factors that control body plan development in humans. Such artificial transcription factors will be used to dissect complex networks of genes that control the fate of human embryonic stem cells.
Udvadia and her team are doing research to treat diseases that affect the central nervous system. Using zebrafish as a model, they are studying how neurons form connections in the developing vertebrate central nervous system and how damage to such connections can be repaired in the adult vertebrate central nervous system.
The Greater Milwaukee Foundation created the Shaw Scientist Award in 1982 with a $4.2 million bequest from donor Dorothy Shaw, the widow of Milwaukee attorney James Shaw.