Dr. Angela Wandinger-Ness has been chosen to receive the 2019 STC.UNM Innovation Fellow Award in recognition of her achievements as a leading innovator at The University of New Mexico. Wandinger-Ness is a professor in the Department of Pathology, the Victor and Ruby Hansen Surface Endowed Professor in Cancer Cell Biology & Clinical Translation, and the associate director for Education, Training & Mentoring at the Comprehensive Cancer Center.
The STC.UNM (STC) Board of Directors presents this special award each year to a university faculty inventor(s) whose body of technologies have made a significant social and economic impact on society and the marketplace. The award will be presented to Wandinger-Ness at STC’s 2019 Innovation Awards Dinner on April 23, 2019. The annual event also recognizes UNM faculty, staff and students who have received issued U.S. patents and registered U.S. copyrights/trademarks within the past year.
Speaking on behalf of the entire STC.UNM Board of Directors, STC CEO Lisa Kuuttila stated: “The STC Board of Directors are truly honored to present the 2019 Innovation Fellow Award to Dr. Wandinger-Ness. Her research is a beautiful example of how fundamental research can lead to the development of new therapies for cancer patients. The drug that is being developed for ovarian cancer by startup Revere Pharmaceuticals from her discoveries targeting GTPase enzymes has shown its effectiveness in inhibiting tumor growth and metastasis.
"Ovarian cancer has a dismal 5-year survival rate. Most women are diagnosed when the disease has already metastasized. New treatments are needed to manage the later stages of the disease and extend the survival rate. Dr. Wandinger-Ness is also an outstanding mentor to many students. She is passionate about training the next generation of culturally diverse researchers and innovators through two NIH-funded programs at the Comprehensive Cancer Center.”
Executive Vice President, Chancellor & CEO of the UNM Health System and School of Medicine Dean Dr. Paul Roth added, “Dr. Wandinger-Ness has amassed an impressive record of research and innovation throughout her career at UNM. She exemplifies our shared values of compassion and service to the community and has demonstrated remarkable skill in translating her research achievements into meaningful therapies. She richly deserves her recognition as the 2019 STC.UNM Innovation Fellow.” commented:
“Angela has conducted outstanding research, leading a team comprised of top investigators at the UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center to discover that an FDA-approved drug has potential to fight ovarian cancer metastasis," UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center Director & CEO Dr. Cheryl L. Willman. "She has tremendous leadership capabilities and has developed a pipeline from the high school level through junior faculty level.
"Angela passionately serves as the associate director for Training, Education and Mentoring at the UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center. We couldn’t be more proud of her accomplishments; they will have an impact on ovarian cancer patients and on future scientists.”
Wandinger-Ness received her Ph.D. in biochemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles, and completed postdoctoral training at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany. Her first faculty appointment was at Northwestern University. Since 1999, Dr. Wandinger-Ness has been on the faculty in the Department of Pathology at the UNMHSC and a member of the UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center.
She holds awards for teaching and research; has authored over 90 peer-reviewed articles and reviews, and has disclosed 19 technologies, received six U.S. issued patents and has six pending patents while at UNM. Her laboratory has been extramurally funded since 1993 through NIH, NSF (including a prestigious CAREER award) and a variety of private foundations totaling 39 grants as PI and $23 million in direct costs.
Wandinger-Ness is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, served as a visiting professor at the Max-Planck Institute for Molecular Physiology in Dortmund, Germany, and a research ambassador for the German Academic Exchange Program. She is the recipient of a Woman in Technology Award and is a five-time STC Innovation Awardee.
An expert in cell biology and protein biochemistry, Wandinger-Ness has been studying enzymes called GTPases for nearly 30 years. GTPases are molecular switches that control cell behavior, regulating how cells break down, organize, move around and attach to one another. GTPases have long been recognized as important targets for developing new drugs.
To view a video on Dr. Wandinger-Ness, please click below.