Elizabeth Bryda, a professor in the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology at the University of Missouri’s College of Veterinary Medicine, will receive a 2018 Outstanding St. Louis Scientists Award from the Academy of Science.
The purpose of the awards, now in their 24th year, “is to focus the region’s attention upon individuals, institutions and corporations known worldwide for their scientific contributions to research, industry, and quality of life. In every category, preference is given to candidates who also have a record of excellence in communicating with the public, mentoring colleagues, or leadership in the field of science or industry.”
Bryda, PhD, MS, will receive a James B. Eads Award, which recognizes a distinguished individual for outstanding achievement in engineering or technology.
“I am honored to be chosen for this award, but it’s fair to say that I have benefited greatly by being surrounded by colleagues at Discovery Ridge who are energetic, creative and forward thinking,” Bryda said. “The ability to collaborate with these individuals and leverage our combined talents and expertise has allowed me to be successful in what I do.”
What she does is explained in her award citation: “Animal models play a pivotal role in advancing research important for human health, and the availability of well-characterized models is critical for ensuring robust and reproducible scientific results. As Director of the NIH-funded Rat Resource and Research Center (RRRC), the only centralized repository for rat models in the United States and one of only two such repositories in the world, Dr. Bryda is responsible for providing ready access to quality-controlled animals, rat related-reagents and services that facilitate biomedical research world-wide.
“Leveraging her expertise in molecular genetics, she has been active in the generation/characterization of animal models to study human disease and has developed molecular methods for ensuring genetic quality control of animal strains and cell lines. She has been involved in the isolation of new rat embryonic cell lines, development of a method for cell ablation within genetically engineered animals, refinement of existing rodent strains to make them better disease models and generation of new “reporter” rats that can be used broadly by investigators in a variety of fields.
“Through the RRRC and as the MU Animal Modeling Core Director, she has guided development of genome editing expertise using CRISPR/Cas9 technology, which has benefited investigators both locally and nationally. She has used this technology to create new knock-out and knock-in rat models of inflammatory bowel disease and to generate mice carrying rare, unique human variants to assess whether these variants lead to disease in a paradigm that allows ready assessment of putative disease- causing genetic changes from individual patients.”
With the RRRC, the National Swine Resource and Research Center and the Mutant Mouse Resource and Research Center, Mizzou is the only university in the United States with multiple NIH-supported animal resource centers on one campus.
MU placed three other professors and researchers on this year’s awards list:
Randall Prather, PhD, Curators’ Professor and Distinguished Professor of Reproductive Biotechnology, will receive a Science Leadership Award, which recognizes a distinguished individual — not necessarily a scientist — or organization that has played an important leadership role in the development of science and scientists in the St. Louis region.
Gary Stacey, PhD, Curators’ Distinguished Professor, will receive a Fellows Award, which recognizes a distinguished individual for outstanding achievement in science.
Johannes Strobel, PhD, professor and Director of Makerspace, will receive a Science Educator Award, which recognizes a distinguished individual for outstanding contributions to science education or to the public understanding of science, engineering, or technology.
The awards dinner will be held in April 2018 at the Missouri Botanical Garden.