A highly accomplished scientist. A leader in biopharmaceutical industry. An entrepreneur and inventor. A mentor and advocate for women in science. A passionate supporter of higher education. Any one of these would distinguish Dr. Cheryl Quinn (B.S. Biochemistry and Microbiology, ’85). She’s made an impact across all of these areas. So it can come as no surprise that Quinn was recognized with a 2022 University’s Alumni Achievement Award.
After completing undergraduate degrees at the College of Biological Sciences, Quinn went on to earn distinction as a graduate student at the University of Illinois and a postdoctoral fellow at Oxford. She began a career in pharmaceutical R&D, eventually serving as CEO of a biotechnology company using engineered T cell receptors that has led to an anticancer agent in clinical trials.
As a co-inventor on over 50 issued patents, Quinn is known for her ability to spot potential new therapeutic targets and move them toward real-world applications. Due to the breadth of her business experience and her reputation as a researcher, many in the biopharmaceutical industry continue to look to her for advice and insights relating to drug discovery and development. She continues to serve as an independent consultant for biotechnology companies and as an advisor to academic labs, the National Institutes of Health, and nonprofit foundations around discovery of new treatments for fungal and bacterial infections.
In addition to her many scholarly and professional achievements, Quinn is a proud and engaged Gopher. She has maintained a strong connection to her alma mater and given generously of her
time and resources as chair of the College of Biological Sciences Campaign Steering Committee. Passionate about ensuring opportunity and representation for women in science, she is determined to support young scientists with the hope of increasing the diversity of students who can access all the educational and training benefits the College of Biological Sciences provided her. Quinn and her husband, Dr. Robert Buck, have established scholarships for students studying in the College of Biological Sciences and supported efforts in increasing opportunities for nontraditional students.
“I feel very lucky to be an alum of CBS. The rigorous education in science, the support I received from the college faculty, and the opportunities to experience research in top-notch labs as an undergraduate in CBS were all key to my scientific success and the success of many others as well,” says Quinn. “I'm honored to be part of such a vibrant community of field-shaping faculty, accomplished alumni, and bright, engaged students.” —Stephanie Xenos