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15th Women’s Partnership for Science luncheon features Lasker Prize winner Evelyn Witkin

photo of Evelyn Witkin 2016
Evelyn Witkin, Ph.D., stops for a photo-op with Charles Darwin while touring the CSHL campus ahead of the Women’s Partnership for Science lecture and luncheon on Sunday, September 11, 2016.

Event raises over $200,000 for disease research at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Cold Spring Harbor, NY — On September 11, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) held the 15th annual Women’s Partnership for Science luncheon, a summer staple among New York’s female philanthropists who support biomedical research. This year’s guest speaker was American geneticist and 2015 Lasker Prize winner, Evelyn Witkin, Ph.D.

CSHL’s President and CEO, Dr. Bruce Stillman, introduced Dr. Witkin to the 200 gathered guests, saying, “Evelyn Witkin was a graduate student here in 1944, and last year won the Lasker Prize, which is the most prestigious medical research prize in the United States, for work that she started at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory all those years ago.”

Dr. Witkin’s presentation was titled “Serendipity in Spades: My Crooked Path to Cold Spring Harbor.” She reminisced about the twists and turns in a research career that took her from New York University as an undergraduate student, to graduate studies at Columbia University and then to CSHL to do her thesis research centering on a radiation-resistant mutant of E. coli, which launched her life’s work on DNA mutagenesis and DNA repair.

“Trying to describe how I felt my first day at Cold Spring Harbor…I was star-struck,” Dr. Witkin said. “I was overwhelmed with the feeling that here I was in a place where all this wonderful research was going on, and I was going to be allowed to take part in it. I had the feeling that every morning when I walked into that lab, it felt as if I was walking into a cathedral.”

Dr. Witkin later added: “I really can’t overstate the great good fortune I had of spending those years at Cold Spring Harbor, and being witness to, and in a small way a participant in, the birth of molecular biology.”

The event drew attendees from across the New York metropolitan area. It was co-chaired by: Elizabeth Ainslie, Lori Bahnik, Michele Celestino, Susan Cohen, Kristina Perkin Davison, Tracy A. Dellomo (UBS Financial Services, Inc., Jericho), Carolyn Gero, Anita Lamb (The Jefferson Family Charitable Foundation), Amanda Lister, Jennifer Mercer, Mickie Nagel, Jamie C. Nicholls, Louise Parent, Pat Petersen (Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty, Inc.) Liz Piazza, Whitney Posillico, Dr. Marilyn Simons, Hope Geier Smith, Cynthia Stebbins, Sandy Tytel, and Marjorie van de Stouwe, M.D.

Banfi Vintners, longstanding supporters of the Women’s Partnership for Science, generously donated the wines for the luncheon.

Since 2002, the event has raised $1.7 million for pioneering research on the genetic causes of cancer and neuropsychiatric disorders as well as innovative molecular biology education programs.

  • Dr. Evelyn Witkin gave the featured presentation 'Serendipity in Spades: My crooked path to Cold Spring Harbor'

Written by: Public Affairs | | 516-367-8455

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About Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Founded in 1890, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory has shaped contemporary biomedical research and education with programs in cancer, neuroscience, plant biology and quantitative biology. Home to eight Nobel Prize winners, the private, not-for-profit Laboratory employs 1,100 people including 600 scientists, students and technicians. The Meetings & Courses Program annually hosts more than 12,000 scientists. The Laboratory’s education arm also includes an academic publishing house, a graduate school and the DNA Learning Center with programs for middle and high school students and teachers. For more information, visit