Awards and Honors
Biologist Martha Zúñiga selected
as Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer
By Tim Stephens
The science and engineering honors society Sigma Xi has chosen
UCSC biologist Martha Zúñiga to serve a second
year as a Distinguished Lecturer. The Sigma Xi Distinguished
Lectureship Program provides opportunities for the society's
local chapters to host visits from outstanding individuals who
are at the leading edge of science. Zúñiga, a
professor of molecular, cell, and developmental biology, is
currently a Distinguished Lecturer for 2004-05 and will continue
in this capacity in 2005-06.
UCSC Photo Services
Zúñiga has already given several talks on the
immune system at universities around the country, including
Purdue University and Southern Oregon University. These events
enable her to meet not only members of the local Sigma Xi societies,
but also other members of the local communities, such as high
school students and teachers, Zúñiga said.
Her research focuses on a key component of the immune system
known as class I major histocompatibility complex molecules
and their recognition by T lymphocytes during T cell development,
as well as during immune responses. Her overall goal is to elucidate
the mechanisms by which self-tolerance is attained and maintained
normally and how these mechanisms can be modulated in the treatment
of autoimmune disease, cancer, and organ transplant rejection.
Zúñiga received her B.A. in zoology from the
University of Texas at Austin, and her M.Phil. and Ph.D. in
biology from Yale University. She received a Presidential Young
Investigator Award in 1989 and joined the UCSC faculty in 1990.
Sigma Xi has a membership of 70,000 scientists and engineers
in more than 100 countries. The society sponsors a variety of
programs, including student research activities and programs
that support science and engineering education, public understanding
of science, and international research networking.
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