SUNY Fredonia honors Biology Department alumni Drs. John Baust and Kim Neifer Caldwell with Outstanding Achievement Award
SUNY Fredonia alumni of all ages gathered with campus officials in the Cranston Marché dining complex this afternoon to honor three of the university’s most accomplished alumni and steadfast university supporters.
John G. Baust, Ph.D., ’65 (Biology); Kimberlee Neifer Caldwell, Ph.D., ’87 (Recombinant Gene Technology) were honored by President Dennis L. Hefner at the annual Alumni Awards Luncheon and received the Outstanding Achievement Award for their special contributions to society through their careers as well as their impacts on their alma mater.
President Hefner said the following about the honored alumni: “All are outstanding professionals and, as such, bring great distinction to their alma mater. We are proud to recognize these outstanding individuals this afternoon. All have shown a commitment to Fredonia through their willingness to share their experiences, stories and resources with current students in a variety of ways.”
As one of the world’s leading researchers in cryobiology and cryomedicine, Dr. Baust has developed techniques used in the treatment of cancers and other diseases, and has made advances in cell and tissue preservation. He is a professor of biological sciences and director of the Institute for Biomedical Technology at SUNY Binghamton, and this past year has served as a visiting professor at the Medical Schools of Duke University, UCLA and the University of Amsterdam.
“I’ve had warm feelings for this institution for many years,” Dr. Baust said upon receiving his award. “It’s the horse I’ve ridden to the professional success in my career. I’ve been affiliated with many universities during my career, and I can tell you that the students and faculty here at Fredonia are as good as they come.”
Dr. Baust is leading a unique honors cancer seminar for Fredonia undergraduates this semester, including in-person lectures, distance learning techniques, and a weekend trip to his laboratory in Binghamton.
Dr. Caldwell, an associate professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, began her Homecoming weekend with a lecture for students and faculty on Friday afternoon that detailed some of the advances she and her colleagues have made in the study of the causes of Parkinson’s disease.
“The opportunity to potentially change a line in a textbook can be a wonderful motivator to students,” Dr. Caldwell stated, “and it certainly motivated me.”
Dr. Caldwell has found that excretions from common soil bacteria kill dopamine neurons in two different worms and in human neurons in culture. These are the same neurons that die in Parkinson’s patients. Her research team hypothesizes that this soil bacterium could be an undiscovered contributor linked to idiopathic Parkinson’s disease.
Dr. Caldwell gave particular thanks to several of her former biology faculty members, including Dr. Ken Mantai and Dr. Wayne Yunghans, both of whom were in attendance.
The Biology faculty and staff are very proud to call Drs. Baust and Caldwell SUNY Fredonia Biology Department alumni!