An Oscar, The Brain Prize, Gates Cambridge Scholars, and More Columbian Milestones

 From science to medicine, writing to social sciences, here are the Columbians who received awards recently.

March 20, 2024

Columbia News produces a monthly newsletter (subscribe here!) and article series featuring a roundup of awards and milestones that Columbia faculty, staff, and students have received in recent days. In this edition, you’ll find awards and milestones from February 22 to March 20, 2024. 

If you have an accomplishment you'd like to be considered for inclusion, please email [email protected] with your name, title, school, department, and a link to the relevant award or milestone. 

You can take a look at past accomplishments on our Awards & Milestones page. And you can subscribe to receive the newsletter in your inbox



Barry Bergdoll, Meyer Schapiro Professor of Art History, is the 2024 recipient of a Humanities Faculty Award for Academic Excellence, which recognizes academic excellence in any field of the humanities at Columbia.

Anne Bogart, professor in the Theatre Program at School of the Arts, will receive the 

Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation's 2024 Gordon Davidson Award

Wael Hallaq, Avalon Foundation Professor in the Humanities, is the 2024 laureate of the King Faisal Prize in Islamic Studies, whose theme is "Islamic Systems and their Contemporary Applications."

Nina Cooke John and Ateya Khorakiwala, faculty members at Columbia GSAPP, and Benjamin Taylor, associate professor in the Writing Program at School of the Arts, have been awarded 2024 MacDowell Fellowships.

Mariusz Kozak, associate professor in the Music Department, is the winner of the 2023 Outstanding Publication Award, presented by the Society for Music Theory Post-1945 Music Analysis Interest Group, for his article, "Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s Violin Phase and the Experience of Time, or Why Does Process Music Work?" in Music Theory Online.

Laurence Marie, lecturer in the French Department, has won a Villa Albertine and Albertine Foundation Translation award for nonfiction, for her book, Inventer l’acteur: Émotions et spectacle dans l’Europe des Lumières.

Pamela Smith, Seth Low Professor of History and director of the Center for Science and Society, will be awarded the international Wissenschaftspreis for Cultural History and the History of Knowledge by the Herzog August Bibliothek and the Hans and Helga Eckensberger Stiftung on June 5, 2024.


The Data Science Institute announced recipients of the 2024 Data Science Institute Seed Funds. These awards support new research collaborations that bring together faculty and researchers across Columbia’s schools to apply data science to a range of disciplines. This year’s funded projects span fields ranging from astronomy to epidemiology, and climate change to law, bringing solutions-oriented approaches to challenges outside the bounds of any single discipline. The transdisciplinary teams, which represent six Columbia schools, will accelerate their projects over the course of the next year, drawing on DSI’s extensive network of scientists, scholars, and technical experts. 

Larry F. Abbott, William Bloor Professor of Theoretical Neuroscience, was awarded The Brain Prize, the world's largest brain research prize, awarded and founded by the Lundbeck Foundation. He was recognized alongside two other scientists for their pathbreaking work in theoretical neuroscience.

Marcel Agüeros, associate professor of Astronomy, received the Research Corporation for Science Advancement’s Robert Holland Jr. Award for Research Excellence and Contributions to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The award, which honors the late Robert Holland Jr., an engineer and corporate executive who served on RCSA’s Board of Directors, welcomes recipients as full members of the Cottrell Scholar community.

Henry Colecraft, John C. Dalton Professor of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics; Christine Denny, associate professor of Clinical Neurobiology; David Ho, Clyde '56 and Helen Wu Professor of Medicine and professor of Microbiology and Immunology; Azra Raza, Chan Soon-Shiong Professor of Medicine; Anil Rustgi, Herbert and Florence Irving Professor of Medicine; and Scott Small, Boris and Rose Katz Professor of Neurology, were named as Columbia Technology Ventures Faculty Ambassadors.

Wafaa El-Sadr, University Professor, was awarded $60,000,000 over five years from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for "Regional Partnerships to Strengthen National Data Capacities for HIV, TB, and Other Pandemic Preparedness and Response under PEPFAR."

Sankar Ghosh, Silverstein and Hutt Family Professor of Microbiology, has been selected as an inaugural fellow of the Asian American Academy of Science and Engineering.

Donald W. Landry, Hamilton Southworth Professor of Medicine, has been elected to the board of directors for The Center for Discovery.

Rafael A. Lantigua, professor of Medicine, received the Presidential Volunteer Award from New York State Senator Luis Sepúlveda. Lantigua was also honored with resolutions enacted in the New York State Senate and Assembly, which celebrated Lantigua's significant impact. 

James M. McKiernan, John K. Lattimer Professor of Urology, will assume the position of president of the American Board of Urology in March.

Martin Picard, associate professor of Behavioral Medicine (in Psychiatry, Neurology, and the Robert N. Butler Columbia Aging Center), is the first to receive the new Baszucki Prize in Science. He received the $1.5 million prize for his groundbreaking work connecting brain energetics and mitochondria to the human experience. 

Harold Alan Pincus, professor of Psychiatry and co-director of Columbia University Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, is the recipient of the Distinguished Alum Humanitarian/Service Award from the Einstein College of Medicine. The award recognizes Einstein alumni who have attained distinction in their fields and who have made major contributions to the health and welfare of underserved communities. 

Jaime S. Rubin, professor of Medical Sciences at CUIMC, recently completed a 6-month Fulbright Scholar Award, serving with the Republic of Kosovo’s Ministry of Education, Science, Technology, and Innovation. Rubin's Fulbright project was “Kosovo’s Research Administration and Development: Multidisciplinary & Integrated Initiatives.” At the request of the U.S. Embassy,  Rubin served as a peer reviewer for their University Support Grants Program, an initiative “to facilitate the efforts of [Kosovo’s] higher education institutions in addressing societal and economic development challenges through research, development, and extension services.”

Anil K. Rustgi, Herbert and Florence Irving Professor of Medicine, will receive the Daniel D. Von Hoff Award for Outstanding Contributions to Education and Training in Cancer Research from the American Association for Cancer Research in April.

Myrna Weissman, Diane Goldman Kemper Family Professor of Epidemiology, is the recipient of the Women in Medicine Legacy Foundation’s Alma Dea Morani Award. The award recognizes an outstanding woman physician or scientist who has furthered the practice and understanding of medicine.

Milton L. Wainberg, professor of Psychiatry, is the recipient of the 2024 Senior Scholar Health Services Research Award, given annually by the American Psychiatric Association and the APA Foundation.

Chiaying Wei, assistant professor of Clinical Medical Psychology (in Psychiatry), has been selected as a NY-CHAMP Scholar for Columbia University-Weill Cornell Medicine’s Center of Excellence in Maternal Health. The New York Community-Hospital-Academic Maternal Health Equity Partnerships (NY-CHAMP), is one of 10 research centers across the country funded by National Institutes of Health to develop and evaluate innovative approaches to reduce pregnancy-related complications and deaths with a focus on addressing disparities in outcomes.

Rafael Yuste, professor of Biological Sciences, was awarded a $13 million NIH RM1 grant to lead an interdisciplinary effort to study how neurons work. Yuste will lead a team of six labs—at Columbia, Harvard, MIT, NYU, Stanford, and Hebrew University— in an effort to rediscover the dendrite, the part of the neuron that receives and integrates connections from other neurons.


Hernandez Stroud, adjunct assistant professor of Health Policy and Management, was named a “2024 Trailblazer in Law” by City & State NY for his and his students’ work to reimagine the future of Rikers Island, which inspired a correction reform bill introduced by Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey.


A four-person team from Columbia University and Princeton University, including team lead Moises Escobar (GSAS) and Jonathan Lesh (SIPA’24), recently took first place, including $10,000, in the U.S. Department of Energy Geothermal Collegiate Competition. Their team partnered with the Native Village of Elim to explore geothermal options for the 330-person Alaskan town. 

Aiden Sagerman (CC’24) and Sarah Shi (CC’20, Data Science Fellow at LDEO) have been named 2024 Gates Cambridge Scholars. At University of Cambridge, Aiden will pursue an MPhil in history and philosophy of science, and Sarah will investigate the deep roots of magmatic systems to understand how magma is generated and transported.


The Science Life," produced by the communications team at Columbia's Zuckerman Institute, received an Honorable Mention from the National Association of Science Writers for Excellence in Institutional Writing Award long-form category. The team was recognized for “exploring comics as a completely different and effective storytelling medium to depict diverse researchers' experiences."


Producer Raney Aronson-Rath (JRN’95) won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature Film. 20 Days in Mariupol, from PBS's Frontline and the Associated Press, is an important and intimate look at the brutal realities of the war in Ukraine.

Ursula Burns (SEAS’81), chairwoman of Teneo Holdings LLC and former chief executive officer of the Xerox Corporation, will be recognized at the eighth annual Arthur W. Page Center Awards with a Larry Foster Award for Integrity in Public Communication.