Penny J. Beuning, assis­tant pro­fessor of chem­istry and chem­ical biology, has been named a 2009 Cot­trell Scholar in recog­ni­tion of her work in DNA damage tol­er­ance, specif­i­cally her pro­posal, At the Inter­face of Chem­istry and Biology: Inte­grating teaching and research on muta­genic DNA poly­merases. Beuning is the first North­eastern Uni­ver­sity fac­ulty member to receive this honor, which awards early-​​career sci­en­tists $100,000 to fur­ther research and teaching.

This is a highly esteemed award which sig­ni­fies Pro­fessor Beuning’s standing in the field,” said Graham Jones, pro­fessor and chair of Northeastern’s depart­ment of chem­istry and chem­ical biology. “The Cot­trell Scholar fel­low­ship will allow her to develop an inter­na­tion­ally renowned chem­ical biology program.”

The award, one of ten in 2009 from Research Cor­po­ra­tion for Sci­ence Advance­ment (RCSA) is based in the belief that the best sci­ence teachers are actively engaged in the pur­suit of knowl­edge and eager to pass their research skills and knowl­edge on to others. RCSA, a nearly 100-​​year-​​old foun­da­tion, sup­ports inno­v­a­tive sci­en­tific research and the devel­op­ment of early-​​career aca­d­emic scientists.

Entries were sub­ject to peer review, and both research and teaching were con­sid­ered. Research cri­teria included orig­i­nality, fea­si­bility, and the prospect for sig­nif­i­cant fun­da­mental advances to sci­ence. Teaching cri­teria included con­tri­bu­tions to edu­ca­tion, espe­cially at the under­grad­uate level, and pro­posed strate­gies to achieve edu­ca­tional objectives.

Fred­erick Gardner Cot­trell, the chemist for whom these awards are named, founded RCSA in 1912, endowing it with patent roy­al­ties from his inven­tion, the Cot­trell elec­tro­static pre­cip­i­tator. The award honors his gen­erosity as a bene­factor of sci­ence through RCSA, and his life­time devo­tion to helping young sci­en­tists get their first start.