Laura F. Landweber
1999 Young Investigator Award
Princeton University biologist Laura F. Landweber is considered a rising star in the field of molecular evolution. An assistant professor of biology and vice president of the Princeton Chapter of Sigma Xi, she received her undergraduate degree in molecular biology at Princeton in 1989 and her M.A. in 1991 and Ph.D. in 1993, both at Harvard University. Her talent was recognized early in her career with National Science Foundation (NSF) and Howard Hughes Medical Institute predoctoral fellowships and election to the Harvard Society of Fellows. She has since received a variety of grants and awards, including a 1998 Burroughs Wellcome Fund New Investigator Award in Molecular Parasitology and NSF research grants. In addition, she has participated in summer workshops for science teachers and led freshman seminars on "Jurassic Park: Myth or Reality?" and "DNA Computing." Landweber has also been a panelist on National Public Radio for a discussion about the possibilities of life on Mars. She became a member of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Working Group on Exobiology in 1998. Her laboratory combines two approaches—comparative sequence analysis and functional in vitro selection experiments—to study early molecular evolution, the origin of genetic systems and how cells and DNA process information.