Ludwig wins 2021 Spector Prize

Each year, the Department of Biology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis awards the Spector Prize to a graduating senior in recognition of academic excellence and outstanding undergraduate achievement in research.

The award is in memory of Marion Smith Spector, a 1938 graduate who studied zoology under the late Viktor Hamburger.


This year’s recipient is Ella Ludwig, a senior majoring in biology in Arts & Sciences. Ludwig was nominated by her mentor, Malia Gehan, assistant member and principal investigator at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, who focuses on improving resistance to temperature stress.

Ludwig’s thesis, titled “Assessing Natural Variation in Brachypodium distachyon Responses to Combined Abiotic Stresses,” won praise from all who read it for the experiments’ design, the technical excellence with which they were carried out, and for Ludwig’s incisive interpretation of the results.

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