Outstanding Scientist Award 2020

Beginning in 1962, the NMAS has presented awards intermittently to New Mexicans for “Outstanding Contributions and Distinguished Service to Science and Scientific Education in New Mexico.” Awardees in the past have included Dr. W. Randolph Lovelace II, Chief of the U.S. Army Air Corps Aero-Medical Laboratory and founder of Lovelace Clinic in Albuquerque, Clyde Tombaugh, NMSU, the discoverer of Pluto, and Norris Bradbury, Los Alamos, for whom the Bradbury Museum is named.

​NMAS gave the Outstanding Science Award, in 2020,  to Dr. Angela Wandinger-Ness, UNM.

Dr. Wandinger-Ness received her PhD in Biochemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles and completed post-doctoral training at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany. Her first faculty appointment was at Northwestern University. Since 1998, Dr. Wandinger-Ness has been on faculty in the Department of Pathology at the UNMHSC and a member of the UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Currently, Wandinger-Ness is The Victor and Ruby Hansen Surface Endowed Professor in Cancer Cell Biology and Clinical Translation. She serves as Associate Director for Education, Training and Mentoring at the UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center, is the PI of multiple training programs, and an internationally-recognized expert on Ras-related GTPases.

Passionate about science and education, Dr. Wandinger-Ness is motivated by sleuthing disease mechanisms and translating discoveries into better or new therapies. For nearly 30 years she has led a vibrant research team that includes students and fellows studying kidney disease and ovarian cancer. In the area of kidney disease she has elucidated the mechanisms underlying autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease, relationships to oral-cranio-facial disease, and developing strategies for kidney regeneration through the use of stem cells and decellularized scaffolds. In the cancer arena, Wandinger-Ness and her team have identified new uses for known drugs and evaluated the benefits for ovarian cancer in patient trials.

Wandinger-Ness has authored over 90 peer-reviewed articles and reviews; and has eight awarded patents. Dr. 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.

Through formal teaching and mentoring she has launched the careers of hundreds of undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral trainees, and junior faculty. She is the recipient of numerous awards for excellence in research, innovation and education. Most recently she was recognized as the 2019 Innovation Fellow by UNM.STC/Lobo Rainforest Innovations, the 2020 American Association for the Advancement of Science Lifetime Mentor, and the US Presidential Awardee for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring. She attributes her success to her abilities to communicate, engage with diverse people, and secure funding, and to an entrepreneurial spirit.

Angela Wandinger-Ness, PhD, served as an active board member and leader of the New Mexico Academy of Science (NMAS) from 2004-2012. During her tenure she supported statewide NMAS activities for secondary school students and teachers;  coordinated fund-raising for  the annual meeting, banquet, and a promotional brochure.