Multiple nominations for Lab Heroes Awards-TM Winners

16 Dec 2019

Nearly 200 scientists from around the world nominated 94 scientists in the Hello Bio annual Lab Heroes AwardsTM  and the winners have been announced. They are:

Read what their colleagues had to say about them below: 

2019 Lab Heroes AwardsTM Winner: Jaana van Gastel, Receptor Biology Lab, University of Antwerp, Belgium

Lab Heroes AwardsTM 2019 winner Jaana van Gastel received 14 nominations from current and former colleagues, who  acknowledged her motivation, efficiency, hard work, supportive nature, knowledge, dedication, academic achievements, leadership capabilities and more. Here are the nominations in full:

Jaana van Gastel

"Jaana van Gastel fits the bill of 'Lab Hero' perfectly. She is able to combine her excellence in science with her consummate ability to help organize her fellow researchers, supervise a small army of interns, maintain smooth operations in the lab, win multiple international travel awards, act as a strong mediator and advocate for others, organize social events both in our lab and outside and, last but not least, provide a powerful leadership example to her many followers. Jaana has grown exponentially in her time in our group, she effortlessly combines both strength and ethical compassion with regards to her scientific research and her general conduct. She is a hero to everyone who meets her, both inside and outside the lab."

Fien De Winter, Cell Biology and Histology, University of Antwerp, Belgium

"A lab hero most definitely can mean many different things but if there is one person who any and all definitions apply to, it is definitely Jaana van Gastel. Jaana took on an unimaginably complex project where she tries to control the ageing process through GPCR manipulation and completely succeeded in every aspect, probably setting new paradigms for future therapeutic design strategies. Apart from these clear academic achievements, she has shown to be a natural leader to her fellow group members and the people around her, a fantastic tutor and manager of scores of students and interns (claiming that she personally mentored 4 times as many students as the average PhD student is definitely no exaggeration), a great science communicator (which helped her to obtain several travel grants) and so on... In addition to this, she has been the PhD representative of her department for years, always looking out for her fellow PhD researchers, organising conferences, social events and so on. She does all of this while remaining humble, always looking to improve herself, always ready offer a helping hand, a listening ear or a shoulder to lean on. How she finds the time for all of this will always remain a mystery to me. It has been my pleasure to work together with Jaana and I cannot imagine anyone that deserves this award more than her."

Jan Boddaert, Molecular Pathology Group - Laboratory for Cell Biology and Histology, University of Antwerp, Belgium

"It is my pleasure to nominate Jaana van Gastel for the Lab Heroes Awards 2019. I had the pleasant opportunity to have Jaana as my mentor during my master dissertation. Later on we became colleagues in the receptor biology lab at the university of Antwerp. Jaana’s enthusiastic leadership brings out the best in every student she has trained thus far, including myself. As a master student I was really looking up to her working spirit, perfectionism and enthusiasm in the lab. This inspired myself to work harder and enjoy it. Besides guiding master students and doing her own experiments, Jaana manages the whole lab, supports her fellow researchers and organizes social events inside and outside the lab. 

When I started my PhD, I was continuously impressed by the knowledge she brought to the table and her dedication to her work. While preparing myself for my grant application defence, Jaana organised all the practice sessions and prepared a lot of potential questions. She really dedicated herself to make sure I was fully prepared for the defence. 

From a personal point of view, Jaana is a very cheerful and accommodating person who is highly appreciated by everyone in the lab. Her daily enthusiasm and commitment make it really a privilege to have her as a colleague!"

Hanne Leysen, Receptor Biology Lab, University of Antwerp, Belgium

"Because she is the best and most motivated scientist I know. Even when she is literally drowning in work, she still takes the time to help and educate people around her. She really deserves to be recognised for all her hard work!"

Carolin Van Rossem, Receptor Biology Lab, University of Antwerp, Belgium

"Great initiative! I'd like to recognise the great efforts of my lab colleague who will without a doubt make many biochemical breakthroughs in the future. Jaana finds time besides finishing her PhD to help everyone around her and bring up great scientific ideas. She is bright in a way that brings sunshine to the lives and science of people around her."

Hannes Ledegen, Receptor Biology Lab, University of Antwerp, Belgium

"The Lab Hero initiative from HelloBio is such a fantastic enterprise! Taking the time to reward the great attitude, hard work and team spirit is a wonderful way of recognizing the exceptional efforts of our lab colleagues. Great teams do great science and great science leads to biomedical breakthroughs that will help someone in the future to have a better, healthier life. Real lab heroes appreciate this and then sacrifice a little bit (or a heck of a lot in reality) of their own time for the betterment of their labmates as well as patients of the future. Thinking about these sentiments it was therefore very clear to both myself, and all of her colleagues in our lab, that our very own Jaana van Gastel fits the bill, perfectly. Jaana is currently finishing her PhD studies of G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) signalling systems that can be used to control the hyper-complex ageing process. This is indeed a daunting task but one she is quickly proving to be entirely feasible. Her PhD studies in our lab are likely to set a new paradigm for GPCR therapeutic design. Jaana is a great scientist but she is also able to combine this with her consummate ability to help organize her fellow researchers, supervise a small army of interns, maintain smooth operations in the lab, win multiple international travel awards, act as a strong mediator and advocate for others, organize social events both in our lab and outside and, last but not least, provide a powerful leadership example to her many followers. Jaana has grown exponentially in her time in our group, she effortlessly combines both strength and ethical compassion with regards to her scientific research and her general conduct. She is a hero to everyone who meets her, both inside and outside the lab."

Stuart Maudsley, Receptor Biology Lab, University of Antwerp, Belgium

"She enpowers the lab with her organisatory skills, she has kindness, a willingness to help others, and past lab experience. We just all love her!"

Jhana Hendrickx, Lab of Physiopharmacology, University of Antwerp, Belgium

"Jaana is a very talented PhD with lots of expertise. She is always supportive of her colleagues."

Laura Vangenechten, Centre for Molecular Neurology, University of Antwerp, Belgium

"Jaana has a track record of training and guiding new students in the lab. She has done this for the entire period of her PhD (making her family tree substantial by now!) and she did this on top of all her own work. It is truly remarkable how she has been able to spend and dedicate so much of her time to others whilst still progressing with her own PhD. She'd truly deserve to be recognised as a lab hero!

Elias Adriaenssens, Peripheral Neuropathy Research Group, University of Antwerp, Belgium

"Jaana is a born leader with a neverending helping hand for her colleagues, and her passion for her work makes her a true lab hero."

Jenke Goffa, Receptor Biology Lab, University of Antwerp, Belgium

"Jaana is simply the most efficient and hard-working person that I have ever met - she is superb, an excellent scientist - an example to follow. Her extreme enthusiasm and motivation allow her to be so dedicated, working at 100% power every single day. She is able to have a lot of different projects in mind and exactly know what is going on in each single one. She has great ideas and knows how to present her findings in a very clear manner. Apart from being such an excellent scientist, she possesses great writing skills and teaches extraordinarily well. I had the enormous pleasure of being supervised by her for 6 months and I couldn't be more happy about it. I learned so much from her. Having Jaana by your side and working with her is my greatest advice!"

Paula Santos Otte, TU Dresden, Germany

"She guided me for a short while during my voluntary internship at the Receptor Biology Lab. During this period, it became clear to me that she is a hardworking person, making sure everything runs smoothly by her organized nature. Not only is she very capable inside the lab but she is also a pleasure to discuss ideas with and is always happy to help with anything. As she's about to dive into a new adventure - life after PhD - it would be awesome for her to be recognised as a lab hero so she can start the next chapter of her life with a boost of positivity!"

Joris Van Meenen, Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Antwerp, Belgium

"Jaana is one of the most motivated PhD students I know, she really breathes science. She has guided more than 12 students over the years, many of them are now pursuing a PhD as well. She was a PhD representative for 3 years, a function that really suited her. She would guide and help whenever or what the question was. Whether it is a drink, a peptalk or a silly joke, she is always there to cheer you up."

Nina Dirkx, UA CMN-VIB, University of Antwerp, Belgium

"She's always cheerful and ready to help anyone!"

Julia Lenaerts, Receptor Biology Lab, University of Antwerp, Belgium

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Gabrielle Todd, The Scimemi Lab, University at Albany, USA

Gabrielle Todd, Lab Heroes Awards 2019 Runner UpGabrielle Todd's nominations from her colleagues at the University at Albany told us that she is incredibly positive and supportive, making their lab a better place to be. Gabrielle was praised for her lab management skills, hard work, dedication, efficiency, and more. Her colleagues said:

"Gabrielle is an amazing mentor and is often the go to person for any problems or concerns. She has done a great deal to organize the lab and is always willing to help!"

Haley Chesbro, The Scimemi Lab, University at Albany, USA

"As our lab manager, Gabrielle is selfless and creative. She consistently finds new ways to make our lab work easier and more efficient. She also checks on each of the people in the lab to make sure that everyone is comfortable with their job. Along with this, we oversee the research papers of the new students in the lab. She stays ready to lend a hand to anyone that is feeling overwhelmed. Gabrielle encompasses everything that a lab hero should be."

Deborah Ariyibi, The Scimemi Lab, University at Albany, USA

"She’s so helpful and contributes so much to our laboratory on a daily basis."

Ian Tschang, The Scimemi Lab, University at Albany, USA

"Gabby is a kind and reliable person who is always there to help in whatever way she is capable of."

Alex Lemus, The Scimemi Lab / Department of Biological Sciences, University at Albany, USA

"She is a great mentor with amazing organisational ability in the lab."

Saah Ahmad, University at Albany, USA

"Since Gabrielle has joined our lab she taken over training of all our new undergraduate students. She's been a great help in making sure that everything in the lab runs smoothly."

Maurice Petroccione, The Scimemi Lab / Biology Department, University at Albany, USA

"Gabrielle Todd should win this award because as a beginner in the lab, she made me feel comfortable and gave me the confidence I needed to move forward onto new and exciting projects. She is extremely helpful and really great at guiding me in the right direction. She looks out for those around her and makes working in the lab even more exciting than it already is."

Nicole Gaglia, The Scimemi Lab, University at Albany, USA

"Gabrielle is essential to the lab's smooth operation. She is helpful and always available."

Tyler Mitchell, The Scimemi Lab, University at Albany, USA

"Gabrielle is an exemplary mentor. She successfully communicates concepts and procedures in a comprehensible manner, and always tries to have a positive attitude and helps to create a positive atmosphere within the lab."

Kylie Whitacre, Scimemi Lab, University at Albany, USA

"She is always positive and helpful. Whenever I have a question I know I can go to her."

Samuel Barron, Scimemi Lab, University at Albany, USA

"Gabrielle takes her job in the lab very seriously. She is always focused and extremely organized. She is always looking for better, more efficient ways to get things done in the lab. Since she joined the lab, she has implemented new ways to make things run smoother. She is always there to serve as a valuable source of information. She is very approachable and is always willing to provide help when someone needs it. The lab would not be the same without her!"

Nurat Affinnih, Scimemi Lab, University at Albany, USA

"Gabrielle is a never ending source of support in the lab. She goes above and beyond in making sure everything runs smoothly and keeping the environment efficient and productive. She does her best to make sure the undergraduate research scientists not only learn as much as they can but have a positive experience in doing so."

Anna Tuttman, Scimemi Lab, University at Albany, USA

"She is a very caring and hardworking person. Gabrielle helped me so much by teaching me techniques used in the lab as I am a new student."

Kavipriya Kovai Palanivel, Scimemi Lab, University at Albany, USA

"Gabrielle has been an instrumental member of our team in the Scimemi lab! She does a fantastic job of training undergraduates and is a great source of information to bounce ideas off of! Technically, she is very thorough and diligent with the experiments she performs and is extremely reliable! I am extremely happy to nominate Gabrielle!"

JP McCauley, Scimemi Lab, University at Albany, USA

"Gabrielle is an amazing lab manager. She is incredibly hardworking and dedicated to making sure our lab is the best it could possibly be. She is always willing to help out and support everyone in the lab in any way possible."

Danielle Rambuss, Scimemi Lab, University at Albany, USA

"Gabrielle is an ideal candidate for this award: she is committed to research, has superb time-management skills and is a role model for many undergraduate students in the lab. She encourages personal development and is not shy to pioneer new techniques in the lab. Atta girl!"

Annalisa Scimemi, Scimemi Lab, University at Albany, USA

"Gabrielle is a great member of our lab. She is always vibrating with positivity and gives essential feedback on the lab's scientific endeavors. She makes sure every minute of her time here is productive whether or not her results end up in failure or success. Her positive attitude is contagious and makes the lab a great environment to work in!"

Shergil Zahid, Scimemi Lab, University at Albany, USA

"Gabrielle is extremely supportive of her colleagues, and her extra efforts make a large and noticeable positive difference in the lab. Overall, her presence makes our lab a better place to work!"

Benjamin Bennink, Scimemi Lab, University at Albany, USA

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Dr. Irfan Khan, Stem Cell Lab, PCMD, ICCBS, Pakistan

Dr Irfan KhanDr Irfan Khan received 16 nominations from his colleagues, who told us what a brilliant supervisor and scientist he is. They told us that not only is he brilliant in his field and generously shares his knowledge and expertise, but he’s also a fantastic role model who motivates, encourages, and inspires his students. Here are his nominations:

"I am a PhD scholar in Dr. Irfan's lab and he has an excellent command on his subject. He shows interest in all activities and is always happy to guide students and motivate them to go further. He has been an inspiration and a mentor for all of us."

Javeria Masnoon, Stem Cell Lab, PCMD, ICCBS, Pakistan

"He always generously helps everyone. He has full command of his subject and is always ready to share his knowledge. He is a key person in our lab from whom we can find all solutions to our problems. He is a real role model for all scientists."

Tuba Malick, Stem Cell Lab (Molecular Medicine), ICCBS, Pakistan

"Dr. Irfan Khan, as a scientist, is a very keen observer, like any genius scientist who looks into the root cause of any phenomenon which in my view is the key to success for any passionate scientist. Dr. Irfan Khan has a very positive attitude, he always encourages a person to learn more and more from him. He always tries to make the things conceptual for his students and teaches them how to infer conclusions from experiments intelligently."

Iqra Sahibdad, Stem Cell Lab (Molecular Medicine), PCMD, ICCBS, Pakistan

"He is somebody we look up to when we are stuck in our experiments. He is a great researcher and scientist, and always has innovative ideas for improvement of our research projects and experimental protocols. He is always ready to help even when he is busy himself."

Marium Naz Siddiqui, Stem Cell Lab, PCMD, ICCBS, Pakistan

"Dr. Irfan has amazing technical expertise. He is a good mentor and keeps himself updated with new discoveries in the field of science and technology. He is always ready to help whenever someone needs experimental guidance."

Rida-e-Maria Qazi, Stem Cell Lab, PCMD, ICCBS, Pakistan

"Dr. Irfan Khan has sound expertise in his field, is supportive and available, and despite his extensive commitments he is an ideal supervisor. He has amazing troubleshooting skills."

Syeda Roohina Ali, Stem Cell Lab, PCMD, ICCBS, Pakistan

"He is a great teacher and a mentor who knows how to bring out the best in his students. Working with him is such a privilege, he shows us the right path and illuminates our minds."

Abiha Fatima, Stem Cell Lab (Molecular Medicine), PCMD, ICCBS, University of Karachi, Pakistan

"He is a great researcher and dedicated person. He has strong observation skills and command in his field. He always gives me positive suggestions in my research work. His expertise, guidance and encouragement have always helped me to excel in my research."

Fatima Jameel, Stem Cell Lab (Molecular Medicine), PCMD, ICCBS, University of Karachi, Pakistan

"He is not just incredible in his field but also believes in our ideas and encourages us to go forward."

Shumali Khalid, Stem Cell Lab, PCMD, ICCBS, University of Karachi, Pakistan

"He is an enthusiastic researcher and helps us every time when we need his suggestions."

Aisha Ishaque, Stem Cell Lab, PCMD, ICCBS, Pakistan

"Dr. Irfan Khan has completed his PhD under my supervision. He was among the first group of students who worked in my lab. He possesses qualities that are difficult to describe in words. What I could perceive is the fact that in every oral exam or interview, he was always ranked on top by the panel because of the excellent expressing power through which he conveys his immense and updated knowledge.

When he joined my lab as a student, I was in a process of optimising many techniques in my newly established research lab. I soon realised that he slowly took charge of almost everything to assist me in my work as I was unable to manage many academic and administrative things that came along one after the other. After completing his PhD, he joined my lab as a postdoctoral fellow and then got a faculty position. He supervises MS / PhD students, teaching courses as well as taking care of many academic and administrative assignments. As a colleague, I have found him extremely cooperative and competent, handling each task diligently. His involvement in all running projects of the lab is evident in a number of peer reviewed publications in which he has major contribution. Despite his own academic and administrative duties, he is continuously giving his best to this lab, assisting my students in all aspects. I realize that our lab and I could not survive without his generous support. I strongly recommend him for this award and I sincerely believe that he could be one of the best people to deserve it."

Asmat Salim, Stem Cell Research Lab, Dr. Panj Cent for Mol Med and Drug Research (PCMD), ICCBS, University of Karachi, Pakistan

"He is the most senior and experienced person in our lab. We always look for his help whenever we are stuck in our experimental works. He is young and so energetic. We can use his knowledge for the experiments we do for the first time. Above all, it's very easy to interact and communicate with him because of his good temperament and friendly nature."

Waqas Ahmad, Stem Cell Lab, PCMD, ICCBS, University of Karachi, Pakistan

"I feel lucky to get an opportunity to choose a supervisor for myself. Among many great teachers the first one who came in my mind was him. My sister who was an intern under him was also a great admirer of his knowledge, enthusiasm and work."

Ifrah Fahim Afsar Siddiqui, Stem Cell Lab, PCMD, ICCBS, Pakistan

"Dedication, motivation and determination are the three qualities that I have witnessed in Dr. Irfan Khan. He is a splendid person, gifted with the talent of developing strong relationships and great communication skills. He has lots of properties that enable him to gain the attention of others and his industrious attitude towards work enables him to excel and thrive in the field of Stem Cell Biology. It is an honour for me to have such a wonderful supervisor."

Mukhtar Ullah, Lab P132, PCMD, International Centre for Chemical and Biological Science, Pakistan

"He is our lab hero not only as a supervisor but also as a great scientist. He always motivates us with novel ideas and solves our problems in the best possible way. He is very enthusiastic and always finds alternatives to make the techniques and things easy and accessible. He is a person with great technical skills as well as devotion to his work. Dr. Khan never gives up and make endless efforts towards the research."

Shazmeen Aslam, Stem Cell Laboratory, PCMD, ICCBS, Pakistan

"He is a dedicated researcher and a mentor who never loses hope, and always pushes us to keep on trying."

Amber Mirza, Stem Cell Lab, PCMD, ICCBS, Pakistan

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