The year 2020 came with its share of unprecedented challenges.
While a large portion of Gladstone’s internal community had to adapt to working remotely, many others continued to come to the Mission Bay building, rethinking their research to accommodate new pandemic guidelines and protocols. Several labs even changed the focus of their science altogether to tackle SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
“Despite all the obstacles everyone faced, we were able to come together and accomplish so much last year, not the least of which was helping advance global research on the coronavirus,” says Gladstone President Deepak Srivastava, MD. “Particularly after the year we’ve had, it’s important to take time to reflect on what we achieved and applaud those who went the extra mile.”
That’s why, during a 2-day celebration held in January 2021, Gladstonians paused to gather virtually and recognize accomplishments of 2020.
The award ceremony, Gladstone Celebrates, is held annually—usually in person—to recognize individuals who have made extraordinary contributions, either through their scientific achievements or their commitment to the organization.
“Gladstone’s awards help us celebrate members of our internal community who exhibit outstanding leadership, citizenship, and scientific achievement throughout the year,” explains Srivastava, who hosted the event. “These awards are a way for us to reward individuals and teams who help us achieve our mission and represent what we value most, including mentoring, diversity, and teamwork.”
Scientific awards were presented to individuals who demonstrated exceptional initiative and collaboration, as well as those whose research discoveries in the last year were particularly noteworthy.
A total of nine trainees received the Distinguished Achievement in Science awards for advancing scientific knowledge and demonstrating creativity in their pursuit of impactful research. These graduate students and postdocs presented short talks to the rest of the Gladstone community describing their work.
In addition, organizational awards were given to individuals who embodied Gladstone’s core values, particularly by showing their dedication to mentorship and to promoting a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment. The Outstanding Mentoring Award was presented to four mentors, each nominated for the quality of their guidance and the support they provide to others.
“This year, the Diversity Champion Award took on special meaning given our commitment to improving diversity, equity, and inclusion at Gladstone and within the broader scientific community,” says Srivastava. “With the work that lies ahead, it is more important than ever to have champions who will help move us forward and get us closer to achieving our goals.”
New this year was the Award of Team Excellence, which was given to Gladstone’s COVID-19 Task Force. Members of this group—from a cross-section of departments in both research operations and science labs—displayed exemplary collaboration by coming together as a team to positively impact the organization. From the onset of the pandemic, they met weekly to guide the institution through the crisis, and keep the community safe while allowing the scientists to continue their research.
“Attendance at this virtual event was fantastic, and it was delightful to see people coming together to recognize and cheer on their colleagues,” said Srivastava. “If we had been meeting in person, our auditorium would have been standing room only!”