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Aziz Sancar, MD, PhD (far right)
The 2009 Distinguished Alumni Gala honored seven of The University of Texas at Dallas’ most outstanding alumni Saturday evening, March 28. President David Daniel was on hand to update the distinguished alumni and guests on the University’s strategic goals, and Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Aaron Conley spoke about the strength of the UT Dallas alumni network, and plans to reach out and engage alumni regionally and internationally.
Of the event, Conley said, “This ceremony celebrates not only the accomplishments of our alumni, but also the reasons behind our existence as a University. The advancement of knowledge leads to the betterment of society, and the alumni honored this year have had tremendous impact within their chosen fields, ranging from technology and business, to medicine and public service. Their exceptional career accomplishments, and their service and support of UT Dallas, should be a great point of pride for all of us here on campus, and for our alumni everywhere.”
This year, UT Dallas honored five individuals with the Distinguished Alumni Award and two with the Green and Orange Award.
The 2009 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients
- Mr. David L. Holmberg (MBA ’00). David Holmberg earned his MBA from UT Dallas School of Management EMBA program in 2000. He is the CEO and chairman of the board of Eye Care Centers of America in San Antonio and serves as president and CEO of Pennsylvania-based HVHC Inc. Prior to his role at Eye Care Centers of America, Holmberg served as the executive vice president of Zale U.S. and president of Zale Canada. In recognition of his efforts with Zale Corp., he received the Chairman’s Outstanding Achievement Award in 1996. Holmberg is a member of the School of Management Executive Advisory Council, and in 2003, he was named a “Distinguished Alumnus” by the School of Management.
- The Honorable Jerry A. Madden (MS ’78). Texas State Representative Jerry Madden received his master’s of science degree in management and administration sciences from UT Dallas School of Management in 1978. First elected to the Texas Legislature in November 1992, Madden serves as the vice chair of the House Corrections Committee and as a member of the House Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee. In 2007, he was recognized by Texas Monthly as one of the 10 Best Legislators, was named by Capitol Insider to the “First Team” of performers in the 80th Texas Legislature and received “High Marks” from The Dallas Morning News.
- Dr. Christopher Progler (Ph.D. ’97). Dr. Christopher Progler received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from UT Dallas Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science in 1997. He is the chief technology and executive vice president of Photronics in Allen, Texas, which makes reticles and photomasks for semiconductor and microelectronic applications. At Photronics he is responsible for global research and development, technology joint ventures and emerging technology opportunities. Progler is a member of the UT Dallas Jonsson School Industrial Advisory Board, and he serves on a number of technical advisory boards in his industry.
- Dr. Aziz Sancar (Ph.D. ’77). Dr. Aziz Sancar earned his Ph.D. in molecular biology from UT Dallas in 1977. He then joined the University of North Carolina faculty in 1982 and is currently the Sarah Graham Kenan Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the UNC School of Medicine. Sancar is the first Turkish-American member of the National Academy of Sciences, as well as its first UT Dallas alumnus. He credits his parents with instilling in him and his seven siblings the value of education. “My parents were both illiterate,” he said in a 2005 interview, “but they valued the importance of education, and did their best to ensure that all of their children would receive some education.” Sancar is married to UT Dallas alumna Gwen Boles Sancar.
- Cynthia Sherry, M.D., CPE, MMM, FACR, FACPE (B.S. ’78). Dr. Cynthia Sherry earned a bachelor’s of science degree in chemistry from UT Dallas in 1978, a medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in 1983, and a master’s degree in medical management from Carnegie Mellon University in 1999. She is the chairman of the department of radiology at Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, where she oversees advanced diagnostic imaging technologies. She was chosen as one of the “Best Doctors in Dallas” from 2001 to 2008, and was team physician for the U.S. Figure Skating Championship in 2003. Sherry is married to UT Dallas chemistry professor A. Dean Sherry, Ph.D.
Each year, members of the UT Dallas community are asked to nominate noteworthy graduates for the Distinguished Alumni Award and the Green and Orange Awards. The nominees are recognized for their personal and professional achievements and for their commitment to the University.
The Distinguished Alumni Award is the highest honor bestowed on alumni and is given to individuals who are distinguished in their chosen professions or life’s work and who demonstrate pride in the University. The Green and Orange award honors UT Dallas alumni who have provided exceptional service to the University.
The 2009 Distinguished Alumni Gala was sponsored by:
- Office of Development and Alumni Relations.
- Office of Undergraduate Education.
- Center for BrainHealth.
- School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences.
- School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences.
- Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science.
- School of Interdisciplinary Studies.
- School of Management.
- School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.
- Faculty News
Sancar lab manuscript selected as "Paper of the Week" by JBC
The paper titled "Mechanism of Photosignaling by Drosophila Cryptochrome: Role of the Redox Status of the Flavin Chromophore" appears in the February 21, 2014 print edition of The Journal of Biological Chemistry.
Vaziri and Janzen receive NIH grant to make chemotherapy drugs more effective
A team led by Cyrus Vaziri, PhD, and William Janzen at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has received a grant from the National Institutes of Health for research that could help make chemotherapy drugs more effective.
Brian Strahl featured in a video about the history of epigenetics.
Dr. Brian Strahl, associate professor of biochemistry and biophysics is featured in a video about the history of epigenetics in GEN (Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News). The video titled, Epigenetics: A Timeline, spans 130 years of research.
Wolfgang Bergmeier earns American Heart Association award!
Wolfgang Bergmeier, PhD, will use the $400,000 award to study the role of blood platelets in inflammation and injury.
- Student News
Gauri Dixit receives her PhD!
Gauri successfully defended her dissertation and received his PhD on March 5, 2014.
Elizabeth Proctor receives a 2014 Dean's Distinguished Dissertation Award in Biological and Life Sciences
Elizabeth’s research at UNC utilized computational and experimental methods to explore the mechanism of protein aggregation in the neurodegenerative disease Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.
Daul Cole receives his PhD!
Daud successfully defended his dissertation and received his PhD on December 3, 2013.
Rachel Redler receives her PhD!
Rachel successfully defended her dissertation and received her PhD on December 6, 2013.
- Postdoc & Scholars News
2013 Retreat Winners
Congratulations to Peter Thompson, Harsha Gunawarden, Seth Zimmerman, Tim Jacobs and Marino Convertino.
Scott Rothbart receives a 2013 UNC Pagano Award for a best first-author postdoctoral paper
Congratulations to Dr. Scott Rothbart, a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Brian Strahl's lab who is one of the recipients this year of a Joseph S. Pagano award
Shobhan Gaddameedhi receives CEHS-2013 Pilot Project Award
Congratulations to Dr. Shobhan Gaddameedhi, postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Aziz Sancar's lab, received $25,000 from the Center for Environmental Health and Susceptibility 2013 Pilot Project Award.
Rothbart receives a 2013 Postdoctoral Award for Research Excellence
Congratulations to Dr. Rothbart, postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Dr. Brian Strahl, Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics, who received a 2013 Postdoctoral Award for Excellence in Research at UNC.