The award recognizes outstanding achievement in graduate studies in the biological sciences. Ellison is a member of the lab of Yves Brun, IU Distinguished Professor in the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences' Department of Biology.
Ellison's research focuses on the role of appendages called pili in different types of bacteria, and how their activity contributes to various processes, including surface sensing, attachment and DNA uptake. In 2018, her work on these topics resulted in her becoming the first person to witness a bacterium use its pilus to capture and reel in DNA from its environment.
The award is supported by the Fred Hutch Weintraub and Groudine Fund, which was established to foster intellectual exchange through the promotion of programs for graduate students, fellows and visiting scholars. Nominations for the award are solicited internationally. This year's recipients include 12 other Ph.D. students from institutions across the U.S.
Ellison will accept the award and present her research findings during a scientific symposium at the Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle on May 3.