Dr. Cheryl WalkerSigma Xi Awards “Outstanding Distinguished Scientist of the Year” to Dr. Cheryl Walker

Cheryl Walker, Ph.D., director of the Texas A&M Health Science Center (TAMHSC) Institute of Biosciences and Technology (IBT) was named Outstanding Distinguished Scientist of the Year by Sigma Xi at its 2015 annual ceremony on April 28.

The Texas A&M University Chapter of Sigma Xi, the research honor society at Texas A&M University, awarded its top honor to Walker, citing her dedication to the advancement of science and ability to establish a thriving collegial and supportive scientific environment.

“Dr. Walker is a dynamic leader and enthusiastic colleague, who is motivated by achieving the highest level of scientific discovery for the benefit of others,” said Brett P. Giroir, M.D., CEO of Texas A&M Health Science Center. “She is absolutely unique in her unbridled determination to find common ground, forge new collaborations, and go far beyond what are even the loftiest of expectations. I can think of no one more deserving of this award than Dr. Walker.”

As the Director of the Texas A&M IBT, she has advanced the research environment across the university. Her notable achievements include leading Texas A&M’s National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Center of Excellence in Environmental Health Science known as the Center for Translational Environmental Health Research (CTEHR), bringing the TAMHSC into the Gulf Coast Consortium; being the first person in the TAMHSC to obtain Chancellor’s Research Initiative funding to support the creation of a “Field-to-Clinic” initiative in disease prevention; shepherding the development of two centers of research excellence in which faculty from across the Texas A&M System now participate; and successfully establishing Texas A&M as the Texas RESTORE Act Center for gulf health research.

Dr. Walker has a Ph.D. in cell biology from The University of Texas Health Science Center Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. Her research is in the genetics and epigenetics of cancer, and has garnered substantial recognition, including the 2010 Cozzarelli Prize for Biological Sciences from the National Academy of Sciences and the Dallas/Fort Worth Living Legend Achievement Award in Basic Research. Walker is a past-president of both the 7,000-member Society of Toxicology and Women in Cancer Research of the American Association for Cancer Research, and is an elected member of the Academy of Toxicological Sciences and Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

— Debbie Field

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