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UW neuroscientist named Next Generation Leader

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Z Yan Wang in beekeeping gear.
Z Yan Wang studies aging through invertebrates like bees and octopuses.

Z Yan Wang, incoming assistant professor of psychology and biology and Weill Neurohub term assistant professor, has been named a Next Generation Leader by the Allen Institute. Wang will join the UW in 2022 and focuses her research on the evolutionary and social dimensions of aging through studying invertebrates like bees and octopuses.

According to the Allen Institute, Next Generation Leaders are selected annually from a competitive pool of applications from around the world. The program recognizes early career scientists who bring fresh ideas and are poised to shape the future of neuroscience research. As part of the Next Generation Leaders Council, participants gain experience with collaborative research “and act as Institute ambassadors with academic and industry colleagues.”

Z Yan Wang headshot.
Z Yan Wang has been named a Next Generation Leader by the Allen Institute. 

“This year’s cohort are six really exciting scientists whose work spans a wide range of topics — including pediatric tumors and the death process of the octopus. These emerging scientists represent the future of our field, and I’m excited for the opportunity we have to learn about their work and for them to infuse new perspectives into our work,” said Saskia de Vries, Ph.D., Associate Investigator in the MindScope Program and co-chair of the Next Generation Leaders Committee along with Trygve Bakken, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Investigator at the Allen Institute for Brain Science.

“We are very excited to welcome Z Yan Wang to the University of Washington as a jointly appointed assistant professor in psychology and biology”, said Daniel Pollack, divisional dean of natural sciences.  “Her research, teaching and scientific leadership will have a significant impact on our community and her role as a member of the Allen Institute Next Generation Leader Council will center that work in the larger neuroscience community in a crucial way.”

Wang will serve a three-year term and joins Nick Steinmetz, assistant professor of biological structure at the University of Washington, who was selected as a Next Generation Leader in 2019. Since the program’s inception, two other UW researchers have received the prestigious honor: Andre Berndt, assistant professor of bioengineering, and John Tuthill, assistant professor of physiology and biophysics.

The Next Generation Leaders will present their own research and give feedback on research presented by other early-career Allen Institute researchers at the Institute’s virtual Showcase Symposium on December 7-8, 2021. 

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