PGAA to present first Young Alumni Excellence Award

The Pitt-Greensburg Alumni Association (PGAA) will present its Young Alumni Leadership Award to Katelyn E. Sadler ’11 at its Alumni Celebration Dinner on Saturday, October 1, at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg as part of Blue & Gold Weekend: Homecoming 2016.

The PGAA Young Alumni Leadership Award, initiated in 2015, recognizes established and future leaders among Pitt-Greensburg’s young alumni who are age 35 and younger. The winners of this award have distinguished themselves as a leader among their peers and in the profession, community, and/or the University.

Sadler, a graduate of Hempfield Township High School who now lives in Pittsburgh, graduated summa cum laude and Senior of the Year from Pitt-Greensburg where she earned a BS in biological science and a minor in chemistry. At Pitt-Greensburg, Sadler served as both a Resident Assistant and Peer Leader in addition to being actively involved in other campus organizations. In the classroom, she developed a love for science that led her to completing an undergraduate research project. Under the supervision of Kristina Pazehoski, PhD, then a member the Pitt-Greensburg faculty, Sadler studied biochemical properties of proteins involved in circadian rhythms. During this time, she also found a passion for undergraduate teaching by serving as a teaching assistant for molecular genetics lab and a tutor for the Learning Resource Center. Her interests in scientific research and teaching led her to pursue a Ph.D. in biological sciences at Duquesne University.

“Kate graduated from Pitt-Greensburg with a long list of accomplishments, so we knew she was destined for success,” said Sharon P. Smith, PhD, president of Pitt-Greensburg. “We are extremely proud of everything that she has accomplished during the past five years and are thrilled that she began her lifelong journey of discovery through research here at our campus.  We know that she is only at the beginning of the contributions she will be making as a member of the science community. Kate is the first recipient of the PGAA Young Alumni Leadership Award, and we couldn’t be more proud for her to represent the young alumni in this capacity.”

Currently in her sixth year of graduate school at Duquesne University, she is engaged in research, teaching, and service. Working with Benedict Kolber, PhD, assistant professor of biological sciences, Sadler is investigating the role of the brain in bladder pain processing. Her work, which has been published in six peer-reviewed journal articles, has also been presented at local, national, and international meetings. Most recently, she won best presentation at the American Pain Society meeting for basic science and clinical research. This is in addition to numerous other travel and poster presentation awards. Most notably, Sadler was the first graduate student at Duquesne to receive the Ruth L. Kirchstein National Research Service Award from the National Institutes of Health. The award has provided $40,000 annually to fund her research for the past three years. She also received the Bayer School for Natural and Environmental Sciences Award for Graduate Research Excellence and The American Pain Society Young Investigator Travel Award.

Sadler served as a graduate teaching assistant for five semesters, earning the Basic and Advanced Certificates of University Teaching offered through Duquesne’s Center for Teaching Excellence. A mentor to eight undergraduate students working in the Kolber Lab, she is also active in department and university organizations. This includes serving as the president and faculty meeting representative for the Graduate Student Organization of the Biological Sciences. She also volunteers as a judge for the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Sciences and Habitat for Humanity Kid’s Triathlon.

Sadler is defending her doctoral dissertation this fall. After which, she will start a post-doctoral fellowship at the Medical College of Wisconsin studying sickle cell pain in the laboratory of Cheryl Stucky, PhD, professor of cell biology, neurobiology, and anatomy and director of the neuroscience doctoral program.


Publication Date

Thursday, September 29, 2016 - 2:00pm