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CA Scientist Receives First BIO Rosalind Franklin Award

November 7, 2014
BIO has announced Dr. Debbie Yaver, Director, Expression Technology, Genomics and Bioinformatics at Novozymes, as the recipient of the first annual Rosalind Franklin Award for leadership in industrial biotechnology.  The Rosalind Franklin Award is a newly established annual award to honor an outstanding woman in the field of industrial biotechnology and bioprocessing.  With the support of the Rosalind Franklin Society, BIO will present Dr. Yaver with the BIO Rosalind Franklin Award for leadership in Industrial Biotechnology at the 2014 BIO Pacific Rim Summit on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy.

Rosalind Franklin’s use of X-ray diffraction images led to the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA in 1953. Her work was published alongside Francis Crick’s and James Watson’s model of the structure of DNA.
“Watson and Crick are generally recognized for discovering the structure of DNA while the accomplishments of Dr. Franklin are too often overlooked.  But the work of this unsung hero was a crucial contribution to one of the greatest breakthroughs in science and the cornerstone of the biotech industry,” said Brent Erickson, executive vice president for BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section. "

A special selection committee chose Dr. Debbie Yaver for her commitment to the advancement of the field of industrial biotechnology.  Originally from Stockton, California, Dr. Yaver received both her Bachelor of Arts in Bacteriology and her Doctor of Philosophy in Microbiology from the University of California, Davis.    For over 22 years, Dr. Yaver has made extraordinary scientific contributions to Novozymes’ fundamental knowledge and expertise in gene expression technology in bacterial and fungal systems.  In particular, Dr. Yaver’s vision and leadership in genetic engineering of industrial filamentous fungi has positioned Novozymes as the world leader in enzymes for advanced biofuels.  Her scientific achievements and contributions to Novozymes are well illustrated by her rapid and impressive career progression in the Novozymes organization.
“Dr. Franklin’s images of the double helix and measurements of a single unit were the data used by Watson and Crick to create the model for DNA. Unfortunately, Dr. Franklin did not get the full recognition she deserved during her lifetime,” said Dr. Debbie Yaver, Director, Expression Technology, Genomics and Bioinformatics at Novozymes. “It is fantastic that BIO has chosen to name an award in her honor given to a woman leader in industrial biotechnology. I am honored and humbled to be the first recipient of this award.”

Furthermore, Dr. Yaver is an author on many scientific publications in top-line peer-reviewed journals.  Her vision and passion for industrial biotechnology is reflected by the fact that she is an inventor on nearly 40 issued patents.  Dr. Yaver truly leads by example, and her success is a strong reflection of the inspiration and mentorship she provides to her colleagues.  Currently, Dr. Yaver is a Director of Expression Technology, Genomics and Bioinformatics at Novozymes located in Davis, California.

Dr. Debbie Yaver will be presented the award and will deliver a brief keynote address during the Tuesday, December 9, Lunch Plenary at BIO’s 9th Annual Pacific Rim Summit on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy.  The 2014 Pacific Rim Summit on Industrial Biotech & Bioenergy will be held December 7-9, 2014 in San Diego, California at the Westin Gaslamp Quarter.

Registration and information on rates can be found here.

All programs at the Pacific Rim Summit on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy are open to attendance by members of the media. Complimentary media registration is available to editors and reporters working full time for print, broadcast or web publications with valid press credentials.