Texas A&M biologist Deborah Bell-Pedersen (center) accepts the 2013 Eminent Scholar Award from Women Former Students' Network President Emerita Carol E. Jordan '80 (right), along with additional congratulations from Texas A&M administrators (from left) Joe Newton, dean of the College of Science; Michael Benedik, dean of faculties and professor of biology; and Thomas McKnight, professor and head of the Department of Biology, look on. (Courtesy photo.)


Deborah Bell-Pedersen, professor of biology at Texas A&M University, has been selected as the 2013 recipient of the Texas A&M Women Former Students' Network (WFSN) Eminent Scholar Award.

Bell-Pedersen will be presented the award, recognizing contributions in service, extraordinary achievement in original research, and scholarship at WFSN's Legacy & Eminent Scholar Award Luncheon at noon Thursday (Oct. 17) in the Memorial Student Center Bethancourt Ballroom.

Bell-Pedersen earned a B.S. in biology and an M.S. and Ph.D. in molecular biology from the State University of New York at Albany. Internationally renowned for her research on the mechanisms underpinning the biology of cellular clocks, Bell-Pedersen joined the Texas A&M Department of Biology in 1997 following postdoctoral work at Dartmouth Medical School that focused on molecular studies of the circadian biological clock in Neurospora crassa. She rose to professor of biology in 2007.

Her research continues to investigate how the circadian clock functions in organisms to regulate daily rhythms in behavior, physiology and biochemistry, in addressing defects of the human clock associated with sleep disorders and, for unknown reasons, epilepsy, cerebrovascular disease, multiple sclerosis, headaches, cardiovascular disease, metabolic disease and cancer. Her research group's recent finding that the circadian clock regulates conserved MAPK signaling pathways involved in stress responses and control of cell growth and division offers a rationale for observations that deregulation of the human clock contributes to cancer and also suggests novel approaches for treatment of circadian disorders.

A recognized leader in the fields of circadian and fungal biology, Bell-Pedersen is a standing member of a National Institutes for Health (NIH) study section. In addition to serving as elected chair of the Neurospora Policy Committee, she was selected as program chair for the 2012 Society for Research on Biological Rhythms. She has more than 50 publications in top-tier journals and served as the principal investigator on Texas A&M's first NIH Program Project Grant.

Bell-Pedersen's reputation as an exemplary researcher has accompanied her recognition as an outstanding teacher in undergraduate and graduate courses, and as mentor for more than 45 undergraduates, 15 graduate students, and eight postdoctoral fellows. Her awards and honors include a Texas A&M Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching, a Texas A&M Research Foundation JoAnn Treat Research Excellence Award and being named a Baylor College Davidson Award Lecturer, a Texas A&M University Distinguished Lecturer and an Ethel Ashwood Tsutsui Memorial Award Lecturer in the Texas A&M College of Science.

"Dr. Bell-Pedersen is a wonderful exemplar of the caliber of women faculty at Texas A&M -- faculty who contribute to science, scholarship and service at the highest levels and who, in doing so, inspire the university's women students from around the world," said Carol E. Jordan '80, president emerita of the WFSN and co-chair of the Eminent Scholar Review Committee.

WFSN President LaRhesa Moon noted, "The WFSN is honored to present the Eminent Scholar Award in conjunction with the university. This award is a great example of our organization's desire to recognize and promote the accomplishments of those who are having a significant and lasting impact on Texas A&M and its students."

The Eminent Scholar Award was created jointly by the WFSN and Texas A&M University in 2010 to highlight extraordinary contributions of the university's women faculty who have demonstrated exceptional achievement in research, scholarship, artistic and creative pursuits, and engagement. Presented annually to a faculty member in a tenured or tenure-track position, the award includes a $4,000 cash gift and plaque. Bell-Pedersen is the second Eminent Scholar Award recipient, joining 2012 honoree Kim R. Dunbar, distinguished professor of chemistry and Davidson Professor of Science at Texas A&M.

For more information about the WFSN, or the upcoming WFSN Leadership Conference, visit http://aggiewomen.org.

To learn more about Bell-Pederson and her teaching and research, go to http://www.bio.tamu.edu/FACMENU/FACULTY/Bell-PedersenD.php.


Contact: Peggy Samson (979) 845-6366 or peggys@tamu.edu

Samson Peggy

  • Dr. Deborah Bell-Pedersen

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