Eight Washington University faculty members will receive Outstanding St. Louis Scientist Awards from the Academy of Science of St. Louis. Five are from the School of Medicine, and three are from the Danforth Campus.
The awards’ focus is on individuals and institutions in St. Louis known worldwide for scientific contributions to research, industry and quality of life. Awards will be given at an April 30 ceremony at the Chase Park Plaza Hotel. Carl Frieden, Ph.D., professor and former head of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, and Eduardo Slatopolsky, M.D., the Joseph Friedman Professor of Renal Diseases in Medicine, each will receive the Peter H. Raven Lifetime Achievement Award.
Frieden has made significant contributions to understanding the role of conformational changes in enzymes and proteins and to the mechanism of protein folding.
He is recognized for the development of the first user-friendly, freely provided computer program to analyze kinetic data and for the development of innovative nuclear magnetic resonance methods using fluorine-labeled amino acids to study protein folding. His current research focuses on proteins and peptides related to neurodegenerative diseases.
Slatopolsky is a world leader in the study of mineral and bone metabolism in patients with chronic kidney failure.
Over his more than 40-year career, his work has defined the way nephrology is practiced worldwide. His work has been instrumental in defining specific aspects of renal failure and developing bedside therapies to treat it. He has made major scientific contributions in at least five investigational areas: the role of phosphorus in secondary hyperparathyroidism; phosphate binder therapy; Vitamin D sterols; peripheral metabolism of para-thyroid hormone; and the loss of calcium-sensing receptor.
William A. Peck, M.D., the Alan A. and Edith L. Wolff Distinguished Professor of Medicine, director of the Center for Health Policy and former dean and executive vice chancellor for medical affairs, will receive the Science Leadership Award.
Peck is a nationally recognized leader of health policy, particularly in disparities in access to care and insurance, rising costs, workforce shortages and errors and inefficiencies in providing medical care. The mission of the center that he heads is to sponsor research that will aid in identifying solutions to these problems.
During his time as dean, the School of Medicine’s research activities expanded markedly, contributing to the school’s ranking among the top few in federal research funding. Regionally, Peck serves on the boards of two incubators emphasizing the life sciences, the Center for Emerging Technologies and the Nidus Center. Nationally, he has been the vice chairman of Research!America, chaired the Association of American Medical Colleges, founded the National Osteoporosis Foundation, and is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science.
Gerald Medoff, M.D., professor emeritus of medicine, will receive the Fellows Award.
The founder of the School of Medicine’s Division of Infectious Diseases, Medoff has inspired trainees over more than three decades with his commitment to clinical medicine and his love for its scientific underpinnings. He built the division into a nationally renowned group and strengthened the area of clinical infectious diseases, serving as associate chair for clinical affairs for the Department of Medicine.
His own research in fungi and antifungal regiments is an example of scientific contributions often very relevant to clinical disease, and his careful studies of the mechanisms of antifungal agents are considered landmarks.
Ramesh K. Agarwal, Ph.D., the William Palm Professor of Engineering, will receive the James B. Eads Award.
Many of the principles developed by Agarwal and his colleagues have benefited generations of aircraft design, including improved techniques for control of advanced fighter aircraft in “phantom yaw” and the development of promising new ways to control buffeting of commercial aircraft.
In 2007, he received the gold award from Royal Aeronautical Society of United Kingdom, awarded to fewer than five Americans in more than 50 years.
In 2008, he received the Aerodynamics Award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) — the highest national technical award given in aerodynamics. He also received the William Littlewood Award — a joint award from AIAA and the Society of Automotive Engineers.
Jonathan M. Chase, Ph.D., associate professor of biology in Arts & Sciences, and Timothy E. Holy, Ph.D., assistant professor of anatomy and neurobiology, each will receive the Innovation Award.
Chase has made important contributions to the understanding of patterns of biodiversity through space and time.
His research focuses on how communities of species are put together, what limits the numbers and types of species that can live in a given community and how those species interact with one another in food webs.
As director of the Tyson Research Center, he is applying these principles into a more general framework for the restoration of natural ecosystems in the St. Louis area.
His recent book on ecological niches has received widespread acclaim, and his ecological outreach to teachers and high-school students is a model for the country.
Holy has made important innovations on both scientific and technical fronts that have had a major impact in neuroscience. One important discovery is male mice emit certain ultrasonic songs when close to a female mouse or her scent.
Another discovery involves a powerful new optical method for simultaneously visualizing the activity of large numbers of neurons.
Victoria L. May, assistant dean in the College of Arts & Sciences, will be honored with the Science Educator Award. May has fostered innovation in K-12 education over more than 20 years as a local and national leader.
As director of Science Outreach, she leads programs designed to improve learning through investigative experiences for students and teachers.
A believer in the power of partnership, she facilitates efforts that involve scientists and K-12 educators in classroom instruction and gets local institutions such as the Academy of Science, Missouri Botanical Garden, Saint Louis Science Center and the Saint Louis Zoo involved as well. May leads school programs funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Monsanto Fund, Boeing and MasterCard.