Columbia Postdoc Alums Honored by Blavatnik Family Foundation and New York Academy of Sciences

Joonho Lee and Elena Meirzadeh were recognized for their work in quantum and materials chemistry.

August 09, 2023

The Blavatnik Family Foundation and The New York Academy of Sciences announced its 2023 Blavatnik Regional Awards for Young Scientists today. Among the postdocs honored are two former Columbians: Joonho Lee, this year’s laureate in chemistry, and Elena Meirzadeh, a finalist in chemistry.

During his time at Columbia from 2019 to 2023, Lee worked with theoretical chemist David Reichman and was a visiting scientist at Google Quantum AI. He was recognized for the development of state-of-the-art quantum chemistry algorithms for classical and quantum computers.

Meirzadeh worked with chemists Xavier Roy and Colin Nuckolls from 2018 to 2023. She was recognized for synthesizing a molecular two-dimensional form of carbon called graphullerene that has opened up a new class of materials with enormous potential applications in energy storage and tunable optoelectronics. 

Lee, who recently joined the faculty at Harvard University and is now a faculty advisor at Google Quantum AI, will receive a $30,000 unrestricted prize. Meirzadeh, who recently joined the faculty at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, and who is one of six named finalists, will receive $10,000. 

The 2023 Blavatnik Regional Awards Laureates and Finalists will be honored during National Postdoctoral Appreciation Week, which recognizes the significant contributions that postdoctoral scholars make to U.S. research and discovery. The 2023 Ceremony of the Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists will take place at the American Museum of Natural History in New York on September 19, 2023.