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Innovation & Startups

2012 Carnegie Science Awards recognizes outstanding innovators in the region

The 2012 Carnegie Science Award winners are an impressive list of educators, innovators, scientists and entrepreneurs whose work is sending ripples far beyond our region.
Lillian Chong received the 2012 Award for Emerging Female Scientist. An assistant professor in University of Pittsburgh's Department of Chemistry and Department of Computational & Systems Biology, Chong is engaged in cutting-edge research using computer simulations to understand and chart how proteins bind their partner proteins, work that will contribute to the treatment of diseases such as AIDS and cancer.
Chong's compares the research to making movies on the computer at a high-frame rate, showing how all the atoms in the proteins move in time while catching motions as rapid as a million billionth of a second. The work is revealing insights that cannot be gained through experimentation, she says, since many of these motions are difficult to capture using laboratory experiments. 
"Using a fancy computer algorithm, we have provided the most detailed views of protein binding to date," she says. 
Each year the Carnegie Science Center recognizes a wide range of outstanding achievements in science and technology in western Pennsylvania. In its 16th year, the award has honored more than 300 individuals and organizations that are working to improve lives. 
Other awards went to researchers, educators and scientists in a range of areas. Dr. Evan "Jake" Waxman at Pitt was recognized for developing the Guerilla Eye Service (GES), a community service and teaching project that provides eye exams to underserved patients.
Illah Nourbakhsh of CMU was noted for community-creating projects such as ChargeCar, a project that involves local citizens and businesses building custom electric cars.
Henry Thorne of Thorne Industries received the Entrepreneur Award for his success in commercializing  robotic technology and creating jobs through the company 4Moms. Nick Kuhn of ALung won the Startup Entrepreneur Award for ALung's respiratory assist technology.
Check out the complete list of 2012 Carnegie Science Award winners. The awards program helps fund the Science Center, exhibits and educational programs.
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Lillian Chong, Pitt; Carnegie Science Awards
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