Robert Lewis, Ph.D., named 13th Scientist Laureate

by John Keenan, UNMC public relations | January 16, 2019

Image with caption: Robert Lewis, Ph.D.

Robert Lewis, Ph.D.

Robert Lewis, Ph.D., the Edward and Lida Robinson Professor of Cancer Research at the Eppley Institute for Research in Cancer and Allied Diseases, has been named the 13th UNMC Scientist Laureate.

The award is the highest honor UNMC bestows upon researchers.

Dr. Lewis will be honored at a March 5 event, along with 23 other researchers recently named UNMC Distinguished Scientist and New Investigator Award winners for 2018.

His research focus is on identifying vulnerabilities in cancer cells and the genes that are required for the formation of a tumor that are not required for the formation of a normal cell.

"The idea being that, if we can identify those vulnerabilities in tumors, we might be able to fashion therapies that will kill the tumor cell but not make the patient sick," Dr. Lewis said.

"Rob is well deserving of this recognition," said Ken Cowan, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Eppley Institute. "His research is nationally recognized and he has played a vital leadership role in the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center."

"The Scientist Laureate is a unique award because it is intended to honor a UNMC faculty who not only has had a history of successful research and funding, but has also given back as a research leader, developing resources and mentoring other faculty," said Jennifer Larsen, M.D., vice chancellor for research. "Rob Lewis is the latest Scientist Laureate because he has done just that. His work over his UNMC career spans not only cancer, but diabetes and obesity and now drug discovery and development."

Others being honored this year:

This year's Research Leadership Awardee is:

  • Mohammad Siahpush, Ph.D., College of Public Health

The Research Leadership Award is intended to honor scientists previously recognized as Distinguished Scientists who have a longstanding research funding history and also serve as research leaders and mentors on campus.

This year's Distinguished Scientist Awardees are:

The Distinguished Scientist Award

The Distinguished Scientist Award -- which is sponsored by the chancellor -- recognizes researchers who have been among the most productive scientists at UNMC during the past five years.

  • David Dzewaltowski, Ph.D., College of Public Health
  • Corinne Hanson, Ph.D., College of Allied Health Professions
  • Javeed Iqbal, Ph.D., College of Medicine
  • Pete Iwen, Ph.D., College of Medicine
  • Donald Klepser, Ph.D., College of Pharmacy
  • Max Kurz, Ph.D., Munroe-Meyer Institute
  • Yulong Li, M.D., Ph.D., College of Medicine
  • Matthew Lunning, D.O., College of Medicine
  • Scot Ouellette, Ph.D., College of Medicine
  • Tony Wilson, Ph.D., College of Medicine

This year's New Investigator Awardees are:

The New Investigator Award

New Investigator Awards go to outstanding UNMC scientists who in the past two years have secured their first funding from the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense or other national sources. New Investigators also had to demonstrate scholarly activity such as publishing their research and/or presenting their findings at national conventions.

  • Bin Duan, Ph.D., College of Medicine
  • Christine Eisenhauer, Ph.D., College of Nursing
  • Ming-Lei Guo, Ph.D., College of Medicine
  • Guoku Hu, Ph.D., College of Medicine
  • Sukhwinder Kaur, Ph.D., College of Medicine
  • Sushil Kumar, Ph.D., College of Medicine
  • Caroline Ng, Ph.D., College of Medicine
  • Armen Petrosyan, Ph.D., College of Medicine
  • Saint Patrick Reid, Ph.D., College of Medicine
  • Vinai Chittezham Thomas, Ph.D., College of Medicine
  • Saraswathi Viswanathan, Ph.D., College of Medicine
  • Aaron Yoder, Ph.D., College of Public Health


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Marjorie Farr
January 25, 2019 at 6:03 PM

Wonderful Award Recognition Rob! Stupendous! Congratulations!

Myron Toews
January 23, 2019 at 11:04 AM

Congrats! You should also get the Grad Student Mentor award -- I am always amazed at what your graduate students know and accomplish. So glad there were reasons for you to stay at UNMC.

Shelley Smith
January 16, 2019 at 5:46 PM

Outstanding choice for Scientist Laureate! Congratulations, Rob!

Donald Durden
January 16, 2019 at 5:24 PM

Congratulations Rob!!

Maximilian Kurz
January 16, 2019 at 1:12 PM

Congratulations, Dr.Max

Bill O'Neill
January 16, 2019 at 11:29 AM

Congratulations, Rob!

Tom O'Connor
January 16, 2019 at 9:14 AM

Congrats, Rob! You da' man!

Babu Guda
January 16, 2019 at 8:47 AM

Congratulations Rob, very well deserved !!!

Kim Bainbridge
January 16, 2019 at 8:41 AM

Rob - congratulations. Well deserved.

Chris Whitted
January 16, 2019 at 8:33 AM

Congratulations Rob!

Irv Zucker
January 16, 2019 at 6:57 AM

Rob, congratulations. Well deserved, Irv