Blair Benham-Pyle Wins 2021 Merton Bernfield Memorial Award

Blair Benham-Pyle

Blair Benham-Pyle, the Jane Coffin Childs Postdoctoral Associate at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in Kansas City, MO, has received the 2021 Merton Bernfield Memorial Award from ASCB. This award for postdocs and graduate students was established with member donations in memory of pediatrician and cell biologist Merton Bernfield.

“The goal of my postdoctoral work has been to define the cell populations and signaling pathways that establish regenerative capacity and coordinate injury repair in the planarian flatworm Schmidtea mediterranea,” Benham-Pyle wrote to ASCB. She gave the talk “Identification and functional characterization of rare post-mitotic cell states induced by injury and required for whole-body regeneration in Schmidtea mediterranea,” at Cell Bio Virtual 2021. 

Along with her research Benham-Pyle has devoted herself to uplifting other young scientists. 

“Throughout my career, I have been passionate about mentoring, fostering safe and inclusive spaces for academics at all training levels, and advocating for trainee-focused professional development and values-oriented policies,” she told ASCB. “I served as a first-year counselor at Yale University, and a community associate at Stanford University, President of the Stanford Biosciences Student Association, and postdoctoral chair of the Stowers Crossroads Committee.”

Benham-Pyle will be taking a position as assistant professor at Baylor College of Medicine, where she told ASCB that she will focus on “highlighting the excellence of historically excluded scientists in teaching and outreach, fostering safe and supportive training environments, and advocating for policies that confront bias and abuse in scientific research.” 

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This post was collaboratively written by several ASCB staff members.