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UTSA adjunct professor receives honor from the American Society for Cell Biology

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William R. Brinkley

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(Jan. 20, 2015) - William R. Brinkley, Ph.D. and adjunct professor of biology in the UTSA College of Sciences, was recently honored with the E. B. Wilson Medal from the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB). The medal, the organization’s highest honor for far-reaching contributions to cell biology over a lifetime in science, was presented to Brinkley at the 54th Annual Meeting in Philadelphia.

Recognized as America’s first cell biologist, Edmund Beecher Wilson was a pioneering zoologist and geneticist who authored “The Cell,” one of the most famous textbooks in modern biology. Each year, an ASCB nominating committee reviews submissions and decides on award recipients named in his honor.

The first adjunct professor hired by UTSA with a membership in the National Academy of Sciences, Brinkley advocated for research funding and strengthened relationships with the national scientific community. He has served as an advisory committee member and external evaluator for the UTSA Research Centers in Minority Institutions. The program is supported by a $12.6 million grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities at the National Institutes of Health. Additionally, with his previous experience at other UT System institutions, Brinkley has offered guidance on best practices to develop in the university’s march to Tier One.

“We are very honored to have Bill Brinkley’s leadership and direction help us as we continue to cultivate student education in cell and molecular biology,” said George Perry, dean of the UTSA College of Sciences. “His numerous accomplishments over his career include originating approaches and developing microscopy viewing techniques for cell biology that are still being used today in laboratories around the world.”

An educator at the Baylor College of Medicine for more than 20 years, Brinkley is a dean emeritus of the Graduate School of Biomedical Science and a distinguished service professor in the department of molecular and cellular biology. His research has largely focused on how human cells divide and on defining the mitotic apparatus, a cellular structure that separates the genome during mitosis.

Brinkley is best known for discovering the kinetochore, a crescent-shaped, three layered laminated plate. The kinetochore attaches to the center of a duplicated chromosome to microbule spindle fibers that pull it apart from another duplicated chromosome during cell division. The culmination of the entire process of DNA replication is the basis of growth. Brinkley has been a member of the ASCB since 1963 and served as past president in 1980. An author of more than 150 peer-reviewed papers, Brinkley has received numerous awards including the distinguished Merit Award from the U.S. National Institute of Health’s National Cancer Institute.

He earned his doctoral degree in zoology from Iowa State University and his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology from Sam Houston State University.

Established in 1960, the American Society for Cell Biology has more than 9,000 members representing 62 countries. The non-profit organization is an inclusive, international community of biologists studying the cell and is dedicated to advancing scientific discovery, advocating sound research policies, improving education, promoting professional development and increasing diversity in the scientific workforce.

To learn more, visit the American Society for Cell Biology.

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