Best Graduate Student Paper

These awards provide recognition for outstanding student papers in both SMBE journals.

All articles published in the two SMBE journals, Molecular Biology & Evolution and Genome Biology & Evolution, in the calendar year prior to the meeting are eligible for nomination. The best student paper of the year in each journal will receive the prize. 

Award recipients in 2021 for papers published in 2020:

For MBE, Winner: Jana Helsen: Gene Loss Predictably Drives Evolutionary Adaptation

MBE Honorable Mentions:

Ana Marija Jaksic: Neuronal Function and Dopamine Signaling Evolve at High Temperature in Drosophila

Jun Huang: A Simulation Study to Examine the Information Content in Phylogenomic Data Sets under the Multispecies Coalescent Model

Chao Zhang: ASTRAL-Pro: Quartet-Based Species-Tree Inference despite Paralogy

For GBE, Winner: Tiffany Batarseh: Genetic Mutations That Drive Evolutionary Rescue to Lethal Temperature in Escherichia coli

Award recipients in 2020 for papers published in 2019:

For MBE, Winner: Ayush S Saxena: Evolution of the Mutational Process under Relaxed Selection in Caenorhabditis elegans

MBE Honorable Mentions: 

Annabel Beichman: Aquatic Adaptation and Depleted Diversity: A Deep Dive into the Genomes of the Sea Otter and Giant Otter

Qiqing Tao: A Machine Learning Method for Detecting Autocorrelation of Evolutionary Rates in Large Phylogenies

Zhirui Hu: Bayesian Detection of Convergent Rate Changes of Conserved Noncoding Elements on Phylogenetic Trees

For GBE, Winner: Ping-Lin Cao: JmjC Domain-Encoding Genes Are Conserved Metazoans and Are Associated with Planarian Whole-Body Regeneration

GBE Honorable mentions:

Han Mei: A High-Resolution View of Adaptive Event

Rubén González: Mutagenesis Scanning Uncovers Evolutionary Constraints on Tobacco Etch Potyvirus Membrane-Associated 6K2 Protein

Marissa Lim: Parallel Molecular Evolution in Pathways, Genes, and Sites in High-Elevation Hummingbirds Revealed by Comparative Transcriptomics

Award recipients in 2019 for papers published in 2018:

For MBE: Jean Cury: Host Range and Genetic Plasticity Explain the Coexistence of Integrative and Extrachromosomal Mobile Genetic Elements

For GBE: Bárbara D. Bitarello: Signatures of Long-Term Balancing Selection in Human Genomes

Award recipients in 2018 for papers published in 2017:

For MBE: Rémi Allio: Large variation in the ratio of mitochondrial to nuclear mutation rate across animals: implications for genetic diversity and the use of mitochondrial DNA as a molecular marker

For GBE: Philipp Brand: The evolutionary dynamics of the odorant receptor gene family in corbiculate bees

Award recipients in 2017 for papers published in 2016:

For MBE: Alejandra Rodríguez-Verdugo: First-Step Mutations during Adaptation Restore the Expression of Hundreds of Genes

For GBE: Anouk Willemsen: Predicting the Stability of Homologous Gene Duplications in a Plant RNA Virus

Award recipients in 2016 for papers published in 2015:

For MBE: Emily Clare Baker: The Genome Sequence of Saccharomyces eubayanus and the Domestication of Lager-Brewing Yeasts.  

For GBE: award shared by Daniel Tamarit and Kirsten Ellegaard: Functionally Structured Genomes in Lactobacillus kunkeei Colonizing the Honey Crop and Food Products of Honeybees and Stingless Bees.

Please send the name of the nominee, a scan of the signed advisor letter, and the name of the paper for which the award is to be considered as a SINGLE PDF to smbe@allenpress.com with the subject of "Best Graduate Student Paper Prize". If possible, please denote if the paper was published in MBE or GBE.

Award Information

Eligibility & Nomination:


  •       All articles published in the two SMBE journals, Molecular Biology & Evolution and Genome Biology & Evolution (one prize for each journal), in the calendar year 2018 are automatically eligible if the final publication date of the nominated paper is not more than two years later than the date of the nominee's PhD
  •      The nominated early-stage researcher must be the first author or joint first-author of the nominated paper.
  •      An article and its first author can be nominated by anyone, including the first author.
  •      A signed letter from the PhD advisor, MSc advisor, or equivalent, confirming that the paper was part of the nominee’s thesis or graduate work is required.

The nomination must provide:

  • Shared first-authorship is also subject to nomination; if both first-authors are students and the article wins, the award will go to both authors.
  • A signed letter from the PhD advisor, MSc advisor, or equivalent, confirming that the paper was part of the nominee’s thesis or graduate work

Process: The editor-in-chief of each journal will convene separate selection committees, which will choose one awardee each.

The Prize: The best student paper winners will receive a prize each of $500USD, runners up a prize each of $100USD.

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