Stewart and Kwitek Named Finalist in Iowa Women of Innovation Awards

Dr. Anne Kwitek is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Iowa.  She is also the Associate Director of the Iowa Institute of Human Genetics, a statewide institute aimed at bringing personalized genome medicine to Iowans. She was named finalist in the category of "Research Innovation and Leadership".  Dr. Kwitek is internationally-recognized for her research in human and animal genetics. She was involved in the Human Genome Project since its beginning in 1989, and has recently been a member of an international collaboration that sequenced the genome of over 20 strains of rats that are used as disease models in medical research worldwide. Her work has been supported by organizations including the National Institutes of Health and the Fraternal Order of Eagles. Dr. Kwitek’s efforts range from identifying new genes that cause obesity and hypertension to leading an effort to develop clinical genetic tests that identify patients who do not properly respond to their medications. She has published over 90 papers and has a patent for a genetic test for obesity. She has also been a mentor to female students in her laboratory, including two summer interns from Puerto Rico.  As a single parent, she has been able to advise her students about being successful in science as well as balancing a career with being a mom. Her motto is ‘You have to have passion for what you do every day.’ For all the reasons above, I believe Dr. Kwitek is an ideal candidate for the Iowa Women of Innovation Award.

Adele Stewart, graduated student in Dr. Rory Fisher's laboratory was named finalist in the category of "Collegian Innovation and Leadership" of the 2013 Iowa Women of Innovation in STEM. Ms. Stewart has been a graduate student in pharmacology at the University of Iowa since 2009, where she has maintained a GPA of 3.92. Her potential as a promising young scientist has already been recognized within the University of Iowa where she was awarded a Presidential Fellowship (2009-2014), and nationally where she was awarded a prestigious and highly competitive predoctoral fellowship from the Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers Association (PhRMA) Foundation (2011-2013). Ms. Stewart has been exceedingly productive for a young graduate level scientist. She has already authored six published research papers, with additional work in advanced stages of review for publication. She is also the lead author on a recent review in her area of expertise which was cited by the journal (Frontiers in Physiology) as “among the highest-performing articles” based on reader views, suggesting the potentially high impact of her work within her field. Ms. Stewart’s graduate mentor, Dr. Rory Fisher, describes her as “truly exceptional” and “a positive force in the laboratory with the ability to initiate and see a project through to submission of the manuscript.” Importantly, Ms. Stewart is strongly viewed as a good citizen outside of her laboratory and is frequently sought out by other students for help in their research and classes. Ms. Stewart has also given much of her time to teaching in undergraduate courses (071:120 Drugs: Their Nature, Action and Use) and serving on various departmental committees, none of which are requirements of her graduate program. As a department, we share Dr. Fisher’s view that Ms. Stewart’s “scientific abilities are highly advanced and rare for someone at her career stage”, and “I have no doubt about her ability to lead her own research program as an academic scientist and suspect that she will emerge as a leader in her chosen field.” We feel strongly that Ms. Stewart will be a tremendous representative of the University of Iowa in her future work and career in science, and we are proud to nominate her for this award.