posted May 19, 2009

Maria Burnatowska-Hledin Appointed to Professorship

Dr. Maria Burnatowska-Hledin of the Hope College biology and chemistry faculty has been appointed to the college's Frederich Garrett and Helen Floor Dekker Endowed Professorship.

Her 10-year appointment to the chair will begin July 1.

The professorship was established through the estate of Dr. Fred H. Decker and Marie V. Buranek Decker to provide financial support for a faculty member who has an established record of excellence in biophysics, biomedicine or biology. Dr. Decker was a 1921 Hope graduate.

The chair was established in the 1980s. Its first recipients were biologist Dr. Harvey Blankespoor, who held the chair from 1988 until retiring in 2002; and chemist Dr. Michael Silver, who held it from 2002 until retiring at the end of the 2008-09 school year.

Burnatowska-Hledin has been a member of the Hope faculty since 1992.  Her research concerns the protein VACM-1/cul 5, seeking to understand the role that it may play in inhibiting the growth of cancer cells as well as cancer-induced angiogenesis (growth of blood capillaries).

She has received a variety of grants in support of her work, including a multi-year, $503,303 award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 1994, and awards from the American Heart Association, and most recently she received a grant from the National Cancer Institute, titled "VACM-1, a cul 5 gene regulates cell growth and angionesis."  In 1999, she received one of only six "Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Awards" presented nationwide to professors in the chemical sciences by the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation in recognition of her teaching, mentorship, and accomplishments in research and teaching.  She has authored more than 40 publications, in scientific journals including the "American Journal of Physiology," "Microvascular Research," "Toxicology" and the "Journal of Clinical Investigation."

Burnatowska-Hledin has mentored more than 80 students in research during her time at Hope.  A number of the students who have worked with her have earned co-author credits on published articles related to their research, and the students in her research group regularly make presentations at national and regional professional society meetings.

In March she received the "Dean's Science Division Faculty Research Award" from the college.