UO biology professor honored for excellence in science

April 5, 2023 - 9:53am

University of Oregon biologist Diana Libuda has received national recognition for her research, leadership and mentorship.

Libuda, an associate professor in the Institute of Molecular Biology, was awarded the Excellence in Science Early-Career Investigator Award from the Federation of American Societies in Experimental Biology. The institute and Department of Biology are part of the UO’s College of Arts and Sciences.

For more than 30 years, the federation’s Excellence in Science Awards have highlighted outstanding achievements by women in biological science. The award is given to female scientists demonstrating not just excellence and innovation in their research fields but also exemplary leadership and mentorship. This is the first time a University of Oregon scientist has received the honor.

“I am deeply honored to receive the Excellence in Science Early-Career Award,” Libuda said. “I share this award with my previous mentors, colleagues and, most importantly, my amazing lab members, all of whom I have been incredibly privileged to work with and learn from. They have all enhanced my research and life in innumerable ways.”  

Libuda’s research focuses on meiosis, the process by which egg and sperm cells are made, and is helping advance the understanding of fertility. Specifically, her lab investigates how developing sperm and eggs repair DNA breaks to ensure faithful genome inheritance from one generation to another.

Beyond the lab, Libuda has also distinguished herself as a mentor and educator. In 2020, she received the University of Oregon Excellence in Remote Teaching Award for her innovative use of multimedia when classes were virtual due to COVID-19. And she received the University of Oregon Faculty Research Mentor Award for mentoring more than 30 undergraduates, many of whom are now in top doctoral and medical degree programs around the country.

She’s also been a leader in the meiosis research community, helping organize key symposiums and conference events. She has served on grant review panels and as guest editor for PLOS Genetics and has presented at many of the top conferences in her research field.

“Diana is one of the smartest and most creative young geneticists working today,” said R. Scott Hawley, American Cancer Society Research Professor at Stowers Institute for Medical Research, who nominated her for the award. “A look at her record reveals a stellar young faculty member and scientist who enriches the community of all biologists at many levels.”

As the recipient of the Early-Career Investigator Award, Libuda will lecture at the annual meeting of a federation member society of her choice. She will receive the award in conjunction with her lecture.

More information on the federation’s Excellence in Science Awards is available online.