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Head of Cincinnati Children’s “New Scientist Pipeline” Awarded AAAS Fellowship


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sandra Degen, PhD, has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) - an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers.

Degen is associate chair for academic affairs at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and the department of Pediatrics at the University of Cincinnati (UC), and interim chair of Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry and Microbiology in the UC College of Medicine. She is one of 539 AAAS members honored because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.

According to AAAS, Degen’s nomination and appointment stem from her research on blood proteins and coagulation, for her service as an administrator (VP of Research, University of Cincinnati), being a mentor of faculty and high school students interested in science careers, and an advocate of gender equity.

Degen's laboratory focused on blood coagulation and cancer research, and she obtained three patents in the area. Dr. Degen had continuous grant support from the time she received her first academic position, and until 2006 was principal investigator on two National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants.

Just as influential has been her ongoing work at mentoring faculty and supporting undergraduate students pursuing research careers. This includes supporting programs for the career development of women though the support of the Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Trust at Fifth Third Bank. Degen’s office also conducts an annual science career day at the medical center, where promising high school students from the Greater Cincinnati area spend a day meeting and working with research faculty and staff.

The development programs have resulted in more than 1,200 students applying for the roughly 100 spots in the medical center’s summer research programs. The success would not be possible without medical center support, Degen explains.

“I love that the institution realizes that programs for students are our pipeline for new researchers,” Degen says. “It is an honor to be elected an AAAS Fellow, especially the recognition of my leadership in research, mentoring faculty and supporting undergraduates to pursue careers in research. We are part of a major research-comprehensive university and all it has to offer. It’s a strength we are proud of.”

New fellows will be presented with an official certificate and a gold and blue (representing science and engineering, respectively) rosette pin on Feb. 18 at the AAAS Fellows Forum, during the 2012 AAAS Annual Meeting in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. The tradition of AAAS Fellows began in 1874.

About Cincinnati Children’s

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center is one of just eight children’s hospitals named to the Honor Roll in U.S. News and World Report’s 2010-11 Best Children’s Hospitals. It is ranked #1 for digestive disorders and highly ranked for its expertise in pulmonology, cancer, neonatology, heart and heart surgery, neurology and neurosurgery, diabetes and endocrinology, orthopedics, kidney disorders and urology. Cincinnati Children’s is one of the top two recipients of pediatric research grants from the National Institutes of Health. It is internationally recognized for quality and transformation work by Leapfrog, The Joint Commission, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and by hospitals and health organizations it works with globally. Additional information can be found at www.cincinnatichildrens.org.

About AAAS

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world’s largest general scientific society, and publisher of the journal, Science (www.sciencemag.org) as well as Science Translational Medicine (www.sciencetranslationalmedicine.org) and Science Signaling (www.sciencesignaling.org). AAAS was founded in 1848, and includes 262 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world, with an estimated total readership of 1 million. The non-profit AAAS (www.aaas.org) is open to all and fulfills its mission to “advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education, and more. For the latest research news, log onto EurekAlert!, www.eurekalert.org, the premier science-news Web site, a service of AAAS.

Contact Information

Nick Miller, 513-803-6035, Nicholas.Miller@cchmc.org