CBS recently selected three alumni making significant impacts in their careers and their communities for the College’s annual alumni awards. Robert Desnick and Angela Trepanier received the CBS Alumni Achievement Award, and Kimberly VanderWaal received the CBS Emerging Leader Award, an award for alumni who graduated within the last 10 years. Since graduating from CBS, all three have made lasting impacts in higher education across the country in areas relating to genetic counseling, veterinary medicine and genetic diseases.
Kimberly VanderWaal (B.S. Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, '07)
Dr. Kimberly VanderWaal graduated from CBS with an EEB degree in 2007, spending a portion of her undergraduate career studying under lion researcher Craig Packer in the lab and in the field in sub-Saharan Africa. After completing her degree in CBS, she went on to complete her Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis, where she studied disease spread among cattle and wild ruminants in Kenya. Her work in this area earned her the Elton Prize runner-up for best paper by an early career author from the Journal of Animal Ecology.VanderWaal is now an assistant professor at the Department of Veterinary Population Medicine at the University of Minnesota. Her research focuses on understanding the mechanisms of disease spread among animals and ways to model that behavior for further understanding and disease prevention.
Angela Trepanier (M.S., Genetic Counseling, '94)
Angela Trepanier earned her master’s degree in genetic counseling from the University of Minnesota in 1994. She is currently an associate professor of Molecular Medicine and Genetics, as well as the director of the Genetic Counseling masters program at Wayne State University. Her research focuses on developing and evaluating approaches for educating both medical providers as well as the public on issues relating to genomics and genetic counseling. Trepanier has been recognized for her work in genetic counseling and education with the Strategic Leadership Award from the National Society of Genetic Counselors, as well as the Wayne State University President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Robert Desnick (Ph.D. Genetics, '71)
Dr. Robert Desnick completed his undergraduate, Ph.D. and M.D. degrees at the University of Minnesota, and was a CBS faculty member in the Department of then-named Genetics and Cell Biology until 1977. Since then, he has been a faculty member at the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine where he is now the Dean for Genetics and Genomics Medicine and Professor and Chair Emeritus of the Department of Genetics and Genomics Sciences. Desnick’s research explores medical genetics and genomics, particularly aiming to understand and find ways to treat rare genetic diseases. One of his main focuses is on lysosomal storage diseases and finding therapies from individuals dealing with these genetic disorders. He is board certified in molecular and biochemical genetics and is certified by the American Academy of Pediatrics.