Faith Anderson, Ph.D., Molecular and Systems Biology, is the 2021 recipient of the John W. Strohbehn Medal for Excellence in Biomedical Research. The Strohbehn Award is awarded annually to a graduating Ph.D. candidate who best exemplifies qualities of a scientific scholar -- intellectual curiosity, dedication, and commitment to the pursuit of new scientific knowledge and to teaching -- as well as a sense of social responsibility to the research community.
Faith joined Dartmouth in 2017 to work on translational research in Matt Havrda's lab where she quickly developed a strong understanding of a variety of techniques including biomarker assay development, single-cell RNA sequencing sample preparation, and handling human data. She became the lead in the lab's clinical study and published a review of the project in Toxicologial Sciences. Her contributions to the lab also included a project to understand the impact environmental toxins have on Parkinson's disease. This important work, which involved working with toxicant exposure models, led to a NIEHS award and served to support Havrda's RO1 award.
Faith's work has been published, as first author, in Tox. Sci., Water Air Soil Pollut., and NPJ Parkinsons Dis., with several other manuscripts under review/preparation. She is a consummate scholar and according to her Dr. Havrda, "multi-tasks effortlessly, remaining unassuming, well-liked, unhurried, and without a hint of stress, urgency, or self-importance."
In addition to her extensive and well-received research, Faith has been recognized for her impeccable data production and work ethic by every institution that has been fortunate to count her among their scholars. She has been the recipient of numerous awards for her scholarly work and in addition to her NIEHS (F31) Fellowship, she was named an Albert J. Ryan Fellow in 2019, listed in the top three of presenters at the Dartmouth Biomedical Research Symposium, and received first place in the annual Molecular and Systems Biology retreats in 2020 and in 2019.
Faith has also found time to give back to her community at every stage of her career and has been closely involved in local projects including Habitat for Humanity and served as a volunteer dance instructor for a local group designed to support patients suffering from Parkinson's disease through movement. She has also held the position of Vice-President of the Graduate Student Council during the 2018-19 academic year, volunteered for the Upper Valley Brain Bee contest which trains local high-school students to participate in the national event, and acted as student representative to the admissions and graduate committees for the former Program in Experimental and Molecular Medicine.
Such outstanding work both in research and community development was noted by her advisor, Dr. Matt Havrda, who writes "I would place her in the top 2% among dozens of students with whom I have worked closely over more than 10 years here at Dartmouth. I cannot name a graduate student I've have met that works harder or produces higher quality data than Faith Anderson."
We invite you to join us in congratulating Faith Anderson on this award, and wish her every success in her postdoctoral position in Dr. Gary Miller's lab at Columbia University's Mailman School for Public Health.