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07/03/1996 07:00:00

Biologist Erin Schuman Receives 1996 Beckman Young Investigator Award

PASADENA—Erin Schuman, an assistant professor of biology at Caltech, has been named a recipient of a 1996 Beckman Young Investigators Award.

This award, given by the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, will provide $200,000 over two years to support Schuman's research into the "development of an adenovirus vector to deliver recombinant nitric oxide synthase into living neurons."

Schuman is broadly interested in the processes underlying learning and memory. Specifically, she is doing innovative research to understand at a molecular level how neurons communicate with each other and how the strength of communication can be modified. She has made significant contributions to recent discoveries implicating nitric oxide as an important intercellular communicator in the brain. The new research will build on and extend this work.

Schuman earned her bachelor's degree at the University of Southern California, where she graduated with honors in psychology and was elected to the academic honorary society Phi Beta Kappa. She earned her doctorate in neuroscience and psychology at Princeton University in 1990, and has held postdoctoral appointments at Princeton and Stanford universities. Schuman joined the Caltech faculty in 1993, and was named an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow and a John Merck Scholar in 1994, and a Pew Biomedical Scholar in 1995. She also received the 1995 Emerging Scholar Award from the American Association of University Women.

Arnold O. Beckman and his wife, Mabel M. Beckman, established the foundation that bears their names in 1977. In 1934, while a professor of chemistry at Caltech, Beckman invented a pH meter that became a widely used tool for analytic chemistry. He went on to found Beckman Instruments, Inc., and in 1940 he left Caltech to devote full time to his company. Beckman served as chairman of the Caltech Board of Trustees from 1964 to 1974, when he was elected chairman emeritus. He has received many honors for his technical, business, and civic contributions, including the Caltech Distinguished Alumni Award and the Robert A. Millikan Medal for distinguished service to Caltech. The foundation supports research primarily in the area of chemistry and the life sciences, broadly interpreted.

Contact: Jay Aller (818) 395-3631

Written by John Avery