Distinguished scientist: Laura Bilek, PhD

February 18, 2022

Image with caption: Laura Bilek, PhD

Laura Bilek, PhD

This profile is part of a series to highlight the researchers who will be honored at a ceremony on Feb. 24 for UNMC's 2021 Scientist Laureate, Distinguished Scientist, New Investigator and Community Service to Research Award recipients.

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.

  • Name: Laura Bilek, PhD
  • Title: Associate professor and associate dean for research, UNMC College of Allied Health Professions 
  • Joined UNMC: June 1992 
  • Hometown: Council Bluffs, Iowa

Research focus: Exercise, osteoporosis 

Why is research important in the world today? 

Social media bombards the general public with information, much of which is not accurate. It is the responsibility of researchers not only to create new knowledge but also to share accurate information with the public.   

My research will make a difference because:  

My goal is to conduct research that informs the most effective exercise for bone health across the lifespan. Our recent clinical trial identified that exercise strengthens bones of early post-menopausal women by changing the size and structure of the bones, rather that increasing bone density. In addition, I am part of research teams investigating bone health in children after cancer therapy and adults after weight-loss surgery.  

The best advice I’ve ever received is:  

Don’t let perfect get in the way of DONE! 

Three things you may not know about me are: 

  • I live on an acreage in which we converted agriculture land to prairie. 
  • I have touched a baby giraffe.  
  • I can turn cheesy potatoes into an entire meal.  

Kusum K. Kharbanda
February 21, 2022 at 11:37 AM

Congratulations, Laura!

Emily McElroy
February 21, 2022 at 9:33 AM

Congratulations Dr. Bilek!!

J. Graham Sharp.
February 19, 2022 at 8:51 PM


Tom O’Connor
February 18, 2022 at 2:41 PM

Way to go, Laura. You are an inspiration!

Karen Stiles
February 18, 2022 at 12:11 PM

Congrats, Laura! Well deserved! Karen Stiles, NPHL

Kaleb Michaud
February 18, 2022 at 12:11 PM

Congratulations, Dr. Bilek! So well deserved!

Barbara Hurlbert M.D.
February 18, 2022 at 11:52 AM

Congratulations!! Well deserved. So glad you shared your knowledge with the FWC recently at a Zoom meeting. Great job, Laura.

Dipakkumar Prajapati
February 18, 2022 at 10:35 AM

Congratulations Dr. Bilek.

Anne Lawlor
February 18, 2022 at 9:43 AM

Congratulations, Dr. Bilek! I'm so proud to work with you!

Sandy Willett
February 18, 2022 at 8:50 AM

Congrats Laura! I'll join you for those cheesy potatoes in the prairie any time!

Karen Honeycutt
February 18, 2022 at 8:47 AM

Congratulations Dr. Bilek. Thank you for all of your hard work!

Pat O'Neil
February 18, 2022 at 8:07 AM

Congratulations, Dr. Bilek, a well deserved recognition!

Regina Idoate
February 18, 2022 at 7:45 AM

THIS!!! and she has made a home for and raised up generations of medical sciences interdepartmental areas graduates who are out doing creative and innovative research, teaching and other impressive scholarly activity! We love you Dr. Bilek!!!!

Lynn Mack
February 18, 2022 at 7:19 AM

Congratulations Laura! So well deserved.

Tanya Custer
February 18, 2022 at 6:23 AM

Congratulations Laura - this is so well deserved! Your mentorship & guidance over the past few years has been invaluable. I appreciate you!