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Kathy Matthews receives 2015 ASBMB William C. Rose Award

Matthews Rose AwardRice News, March 25, 2015

Rice biochemist Kathleen Matthews will receive the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology’s prestigious William C. Rose Award at the society’s annual meeting March 30 in Boston.

Matthews, the Stewart Memorial Professor in BioSciences and former dean of Rice’s Wiess School of Natural Sciences, will be recognized for her commitment to mentoring and training young scientists as well as for her groundbreaking biophysical and biochemical research on DNA-binding proteins.

Matthews graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor’s in chemistry in 1966 and earned her doctorate in biochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley in 1970. She joined Rice’s faculty in 1972.

In nominating her for the Rose award, Rice biochemist John Olson, the Ralph and Dorothy Looney Professor of BioSciences at Rice, cited Matthews’ research on both Escherichia coli repressor proteins and the protein known as Ultrabithorax, which is found in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. The Rose Award also recognizes Matthews’ outstanding mentorship to emerging scientists. She has supervised 33 Ph.D. students at Rice, including 21 who were women or minorities. And more than half of the 130-plus Rice undergraduates she has mentored were women or minorities.

“This honor is especially meaningful because it encompasses so many former students and colleagues, whose passion and diligence have shaped the direction of work in my laboratory,” Matthews said.

One of Matthews’ former students, noted Ebola researcher Erica Ollmann Saphire ’93 of the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif., will also be recognized in Boston with the society’s Young Investigator Award.

Matthews is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the winner of three George R. Brown Awards for Superior Teaching at Rice. She also helped found the Gulf Coast Consortia, a landmark collaboration involving Rice, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Baylor College of Medicine, the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, the University of Houston, the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and the Texas A&M Health Science Center Institute of Biosciences and Technology.

Matthews also served as principal investigator on the National Science Foundation ADVANCE program, a five-year effort that sought to increase the opportunities for hiring and advancing women scientists and engineers.