Dr. Mukherjee Receives National Award for Making a Difference in STEM Fields

UNC Charlotte distinguished cancer researcher Pinku Mukherjee has received a 2016 Inspiring Women in STEM Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the largest and oldest diversity and inclusion publication in higher education. The Inspiring Women in STEM Award honors women who work to make a difference in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

Mukherjee will be featured, along with 65 other recipients, in the September 2016 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversitymagazine. Each award recipient was nominated by a colleague and selected by INSIGHT Into Diversity based on their efforts to inspire and encourage a new generation of young women to consider careers in STEM through mentoring, teaching, research, and successful programs and initiatives.

As the Irwin Belk Endowed Professor of Cancer Research at UNC Charlotte, Mukherjee is transforming the ways in which cancer is diagnosed and treated. She has designed innovative approaches to more accurately detect breast cancer early and is developing targeted therapy and imaging for pancreatic, ovarian and colon cancers.

Mukherjee also is the chair of the Department of Biological Sciences at UNC Charlotte. She collaborates with researchers from across UNC Charlotte and at other institutions, and with students in classroom and lab settings.

This is the latest accolade for Mukherjee, who was honored a year ago with the O. Max Gardner Award – the highest faculty accolade given by the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina. The award, established by a provision in the will of Gov. O. Max Gardner, recognizes UNC system faculty members who have “made the greatest contribution to the welfare of the human race.”

Mukherjee has secured approximately $7 million in funding and has over 100 peer reviewed scientific journal publications and proceedings. She has participated in several FDA clinical trials from 1998 to 2008 at Mayo Clinic. She was part of the panel of scientists invited to Capitol Hill in 2010, and part of the NIH/NCI Think Tank for Tumor Progression and Metastasis in 2008. She was the spokersperson for Cristie Kerr’s “Birdies for Breast Cancer Foundation” from 2006-2008 and spokesperson for the CARE Foundation from 2004-2006.

She is the founder of CanDiag and is the sole inventor of the CanDiag antibody which has been used to develop early detection blood tests for breast cancer. She received her bachelor’s degree in microbiology from Bombay University, India and her master’s and doctoral degrees in immunology from Brunel University, London, UK.