Frank A. Beach Early Career Award
Initiated 1990 Awarded to an assistant professor
(Announced annually in Fall/Winter)
CALL FOR NOMINATIONS
Nominations are now closed.
Deadline for nominations is
October 15, 2023.
The Society of Behavioral Neuroendocrinology (SBN)’s Early Career Award recognizes an early-career scientist who has established an independent research program which exhibits the potential for continued significant impacts on the field of Behavioral Neuroendocrinology.
Nominees must have a PhD (or MD) and be pre-tenure (if in a tenure track position). The candidate and the nominator submitting the letter must be members of SBN for at least two of the past three years.
- ONE nomination letter. This letter can be jointly signed by any number of individuals of any rank, but the Committee will consider only one letter.
- A current copy of the nominee’s curriculum vitae.
- Nominee’s research statement (750 word limit) that addresses the significance of their research, including how the research is pioneering and innovative, and its implications for high impact on the field of behavioral neuroendocrinology.
(Please append to the CV and submit as a single PDF.)
Questions about the nomination procedures should be sent to: Dr. Sarah Meerts, Chair, SBN Awards Committee, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The SBN’s Early Career Award is named in Frank Beach’s honor, a tribute both to his scientific accomplishments and to his teaching and mentorship of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Frank Beach was the principal founder of behavioral endocrinology: He named and defined the discipline (Beach, 1975), wrote the first survey (Beach, 1948) and history (Beach, 1981) of the field, organized the annual West Coast sex conference, which eventually morphed into the SBN, and founded the journal Hormones and Behavior. See our Founders of Behavioral Neuroendocrinology page to learn more. This early career award was first initiated in 1990.
2022 Award Winner: Laura Fonken, PhD
Dr. Laura Fonken received her BS in Biology and Psychology from Syracuse University in 2008. At Syracuse, Laura worked in the laboratory of Dr. Catherine Cornwell investigating the effects of early life stress on maternal behavior in adult offspring. Laura then joined the laboratory of Dr. Randy J. Nelson at Ohio State University for a one-year post baccalaureate research experience, prior to completing her PhD in the Nelson lab in 2013. In the Nelson lab, Laura’s research focused on the effects of nighttime light exposure on physiology and behavior. Laura demonstrated that exposure to even low levels of nighttime light can disrupt the circadian system altering metabolic, immunological, and behavioral functions. This work resulted in 26 peer-reviewed publications, was recognized with a Young Investigator Award from SBN in 2012, and was supported by an American Heart Association Pre-Doctoral fellowship.
Laura went on to complete an NRSA supported postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. Steven Maier at the University of Colorado Boulder. In the Maier lab, Laura focused on understanding how environmental challenges (e.g., circadian disruption, infection, stressors) impact behavior through altering neuroimmune function. In particular, Laura explored the mechanisms that elicit “priming” or sensitization of microglia responses. Laura also revealed that microglia have an endogenous circadian clock – i.e., microglia have daily oscillations in clock genes, and in inflammatory genes and responses.
Laura joined the faculty at the University of Texas at Austin in the Division of Pharmacology and Toxicology in 2018. Laura’s laboratory is broadly interested in how interactions between the immune, nervous, and endocrine systems regulate behavior. Her research program includes several research themes: (1) mechanisms that lead to neuroinflammatory priming and associated cognitive impairments in the aged brain; (2) circadian regulation of neuroimmune function, with a focus on adaptive immune cell trafficking through brain-immune interfaces; and (3) ontogeny of circadian rhythms in glial cells and the effects of early life circadian disruption on neurodevelopmental function. Work in the Fonken laboratory is supported by a talented research team and two R01s from the National Institute on Aging.
Laura is dedicated to building a diverse and inclusive research community. She has led outreach groups that encourage engagement of underrepresented grade school students in learning about science and the brain. As a mom-scientist and proponent of inclusivity, she aims to support the success of trainees from diverse backgrounds through teaching, mentorship, and outreach.
Past Winners of the Frank A. Beach Early Career Award
Catherine Jensen Peña *
Aubrey Kelly *
Stephanie Correa, PhD
Ben Dantzer, PhD
Zoe R. Donaldson, PhD
Sari van Anders
Frances Anne Champagne
James L. Goodson *
Brian Prendergast *
Tracy L. Bale
Gregory E. Demas *
Anthony P. Auger *
Joseph S. Lonstein
A. Courtney DeVries
Lique M. Coolen
Larry J. Young
Ruth I. Wood
Margaret McCarthy *
Laura Smale *
Emilie F Rissman