President Obama Honors Kibbe with Highest Award for Outstanding Young Scientists and Engineers
Melina Kibbe, MD, associate professor of surgery at the Feinberg School of Medicine, accepts the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, presented by John Holdren, PhD, (left), science and technology advisor to President Barack Obama and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Joel Kupersmith, MD, chief research and development officer for the Veterans Health Administration.
Melina Kibbe, MD, GME ’03, associate professor of surgery at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, was honored at the White House as a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). PECASE is the highest honor given by the U.S. government to outstanding scientists and engineers who are in the early stages of their independent research careers.
Nine federal departments and agencies join together annually to nominate young scientists and engineers whose work is of benefit to the nominating agency’s mission. Kibbe, who was nominated for the award by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), will receive funding from the department for five years as part of this award.
“I am incredibly grateful to the VA for nominating me for this award,” Kibbe says. “I am fortunate to be a VA investigator and surgeon, as the VA truly recognizes the value and importance of research and the role it plays in advancing patient care for veterans. This award reflects that strong commitment.”
President Barack Obama talks with the recipients of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers in the East Room of the White House, Jan. 13, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
Kibbe is also a vascular surgeon at Northwestern Memorial Hospital (NMH), co-chief of the vascular surgery service and director of the vascular laboratory at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center, and a member of the Institute for BioNanotechnology in Medicine at the Robert H. Lurie Medical Research Center. She is being revered for her innovative research in the field of nitric oxide vascular biology and the development of novel translational therapies for patients with vascular disease.
“Having my research recognized in this manner has been very rewarding not only for me, but also for all the members of my lab, past and present, as this achievement represents the hard work and dedication of a team of researchers and staff all working toward a common goal,” Kibbe says. “Without these individuals, as well as the support of my partners, my division chief, NMH and the VA, receiving an award like this would not be possible.”
The awards are coordinated by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy within the Executive Office of the President. Kibbe and the other awardees were selected on the basis of two criteria: pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and a commitment to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education or community outreach.
Kibbe’s research explores how to extend the effectiveness of vascular procedures such as balloon angioplasty and stenting, bypass grafting and other vascular interventions with limited durability. The focus in the Kibbe Lab is to further the understanding of nitric oxide vascular biology in order to develop nitric oxide-based therapies to improve patient care.
“This award has provided greater exposure of my research and has opened the door for potential collaborations which will aid in its growth,” Kibbe says. “Meeting President Obama and the other awardees was an experience I will never forget!”