Allan Wilson Junior Award for Independent Research

This award is intended for outstanding members of the SMBE community who are in the early stages of an independent research career. The primary signal of research excellence is a trajectory of innovative, creative and research that is moving the field of Molecular Biology and Evolution forward.  The prize includes recognition at the annual SMBE banquet, a cash prize of $2000 and a travel award to attend the annual meeting.  This award will be made annually.


2016 SMBE Allan Wilson Junior Award for Independent Research Winner:
Joanna Kelley


Dr. Joanna Kelley is an Assistant Professor in the School of Biological Sciences at Washington State University. She runs an evolutionary genomics laboratory that focuses on high-throughput genome    sequencing and computational approaches to analyzing big data in genomics. Her research focuses on  understanding the genomic basis for adaptation to extreme environments. She received her B.A. in  mathematics and biology with honors from Brown University, working with Johanna Schmitt. She earned  her Ph.D. in Genome Sciences from the University of Washington under Willie Swanson. As a postdoctoral  researcher at the University of Chicago in Human Genetics with Molly Przeworski, she received a National Institutes of Health Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award. Dr. Kelley was also a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Genetics at Stanford University with Carlos Bustamante.

Award Information

Eligibility: Applicants should be three to seven years post Ph.D.* on the nomination deadline and in a senior postdoc, assistant professor, or equivalent positions prior to tenure.

Nomination:  Nomination will be an open process that begins with a call to SMBE members, typically early in the calendar year.

All nominations will include:

  • A nomination letter that includes a recommendation for the candidate.
  • A one-page statement summarizing the candidate’s work and its fit to the award.
  • A CV of the candidate.  
  • A second recommendation letter.

Process:  The President will convene an awards committee who will choose among those nominated.  It may also choose not to award the prize if no suitable candidates are nominated.


*Years post-Ph.D. may be modified in the case of extenuating circumstances, such as childbirth etc. Extenuating circumstances will be considered by the awards committee on a case-by-case basis. 

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