Laura A. Banaszynski, who earned her undergraduate degree in chemistry at Notre Dame in 2000, has won the 2009 Nobel Laureate Signature Award for Graduate Education in Chemistry from the American Chemical Society for her work with Dr. Thomas J. Wandless at Stanford University. The award, sponsored by Mallinckrodt Baker Inc. and approved by the Nobel Foundation, includes a plaque signed by Nobel laureates and a $3,000 honorarium for the student and another $3,000 for the advisor. Only one is granted each year. S. Alex Kandel, now a professor of chemistry and biochemistry, won the award in 2000.
Banaszynski, who holds the Angelo Family Fellowship of the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation at Rockefeller University, is a postdoctoral fellow in C. David Allis’s Laboratory of Chromatin Biology and Epigenetics. Her work, investigating how histone modifications regulate gene expression and maintain genome stability, could have significant implications for cancer diagnosis and therapeutics. At Notre Dame, Banaszynski did undergraduate work on control of molecular conformations and ion transport in the lab of Prof. Bradley Smith. She was a co-author of a paper based on this work and gave a talk at a National ACS meeting in 1999.