FAU Honors Distinguished Alumna Maria Jasin

maria jasin April, 2021

Maria Jasin, Ph.D., award-winning researcher, professor and William E. Snee Chair in the Developmental Biology Program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Institute, was presented the Distinguished Alumni Award at the 2021 Hall of Fame and Distinguished Alumni ceremony on April 28. The event brought together alumni to celebrate the accomplishments of their most outstanding peers. Jasin is a class of ’78 graduate from FAU’s Schmidt College of Science, where she earned a B.S. in Biology. She was recently recognized on the international stage with the prestigious Shaw Prize in Life Science and Medicine Award that honors scientists from around the world who have made significant contributions in their fields of study.

In the Maria Jasin Laboratory, she performs groundbreaking research and makes life changing discoveries. Jasin’s research focuses on DNA recombination and the relationship to the maintenance of genomic integrity and cancer, targeted genome modification, and meiosis. Discoveries from her laboratory include defining how chromosome double-strand breaks are repaired, accomplishing the first “gene editing” experiment, and determining a role for the breast cancer suppressors BRCA1 and BRCA2 in recombination. 

She received her Ph.D from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, followed by a postdoc position at both the University of Zurich and Stanford University School of Medicine before becoming a professor and member of the Sloan Kettering Institute’s Developmental Biology Program in 1990. During her time at FAU, Maria was honored as a Faculty Scholar from 1974-1978 and as the S.E. Wimberly Scholar in 1976.

The honors bestowed upon Jasin over the years have been numerous. In addition to the awards at FAU, her other honors include:

  • 1978-1979 Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Phi Kappa Phi Graduate Fellowship
  • 1985-1987 Stanford University: Fellow of the Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Fund
  • At the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center:
    • 1990-1993 Frederick R. Adler Chair for Junior Faculty
    • 1991-1993 Beckman Young Investigator
    • 1992-1995 Pew Biomedical Scholar
    • 2000-present President William E. Snee Chair

In 2015, Jasin was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, USA, then in 2016 to the National Academy of Medicine, USA, and in 2017 to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.  And just this last year Maria became a Fellow of the American Association for Cancer Research Academy and was designated as a National Cancer Institute Outstanding Investigator.

Teresa Wilcox, Ph.D., interim dean of the Schmidt College of Science, remarks, “The University and the college could not be more proud of Dr. Jasin’s accomplishments, advancing science and blazing a trail as a leader in her field. Dr. Jasin’s educational and career path is marked by resilience in her efforts to achieve the outstanding success that we celebrate with the Distinguished Alumni Award.” 

Read more about the 2021 Hall of Fame and Distinguished Alumni ceremony.