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BIO Announces New Award to Honor Women in the Field Of Industrial Biotechnology

September 25, 2014

BIO recently announced the creation of the BIO Rosalind Franklin Award for Leadership in Industrial Biotechnology. This award will be presented to an outstanding woman in the industrial biotechnology sector who has made significant contributions to the advancement of the biobased economy and biotech innovation.

The winner will be awarded this honor at the 2014 Pacific Rim Summit on Industrial Biotech & Bioenergy, to be held December 7-9, 2014 in San Diego, California.

The award is meant to honor the unique achievements of Rosalind Franklin and her contributions to the field of biotechnology and to recognize the modern achievements of women currently excelling in the industrial biotech space.

“A renowned chemist, Rosalind Franklin achieved milestones in her field including a significant contribution to the discovery of the structure of DNA. This award will highlight recent advancements in industrial biotechnology innovation and growth of the biobased economy by honoring individual women in this biotech sector,” said Brent Erickson, executive vice president of BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section.

At an early age, Franklin studied advanced levels of physics and chemistry, especially so for a woman at that time. In 1945, she earned a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Cambridge University. It was Rosalind Franklin who conceived and captured "Photograph 51" of the "B" form of DNA in 1952 while at King's College in London. It is this photograph, acquired through 100 hours of X-ray exposure from a machine Dr. Franklin herself refined, that revealed the structure of DNA.

The discovery of the structure of DNA was the single most important advance of modern biology. James Watson and Francis Crick, working at Cambridge University, used Photograph 51 as the basis for their famous model of DNA leading to a Nobel Prize in 1962. Though sometimes overlooked, Rosalind Franklin’s critical work and discovery in the field has allowed the expansive growth of the biotechnology industry to become what it is today.

Those interested in submitting a nomination for this Award will be able to do so through October 16, 2014. Nomination forms and additional information can be found here!