October 11, 2020

Pamela Padilla, associate vice president for research and innovation, was named as one of 100 Inspiring Hispanic/Latinx Scientists in America by Cell Press. Honorees were selected based on scholarly achievements, mentoring excellence and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

“It is truly an honor to be recognized in this manner,” Padilla says. “I appreciate the support UNT has provided me and it gives me great pleasure to help lead and inspire our student researchers across our diverse student population.”

Padilla is president of the Society for Advancing Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) — the fifth woman to hold the office in the organization’s 46-year history. Padilla, professor of biological sciences and former associate dean of research and graduate studies for the College of Science, was featured as part of the SACNAS Biography Project in 2019. 

She also was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute and SACNAS Advanced Leadership Institute Fellow in 2017, received a Science magazine Prize for Inquiry-Based Instruction in 2012 and was a National Academy of Sciences Kavli Frontiers of Science Fellow in 2008.

Padilla’s research, which has been continually supported by either the National Institutes of Health or the National Science Foundation, focuses on how environmental and dietary stress affects living organisms at the cellular, genetic and molecular levels as a means to model human health issues including ischemia and diabetes. She has received numerous fellowships and grants including an NSF CAREER award. Padilla also has a research appointment with UNT’s College of Science, where she leads the College of Science Women mentoring group initiative.

Padilla earned her Ph.D. in biology from the University of New Mexico, conducted her post-doctoral research at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington and was a visiting scholar at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California. Padilla joined UNT in 2002, and in 2010, she earned the UNT Early Career Award for Research and Creativity. She was a Faculty Leadership Fellow from 2015 to 2016. 

“I am excited to learn about this announcement, which is a well-deserved honor,” says Mark McLellan, UNT’s vice president for research and innovation. “We are fortunate to have Pam’s leadership here at UNT. She is truly an inspiration to many — from her mentoring of newer faculty through our D.C. Fellows Program to the many students in her own lab.” 

In 2019, Padilla was featured in a video about her impact mentoring graduate students at UNT. 

Cell Press publishes more than 50 scientific journals across the life, physical, earth and health sciences, independently and in partnership with scientific societies. The announcement was made by Cell Mentor, a prestigious online resource for researchers, published by Cell Press.

Cell Mentor said in its announcement, “Our aim in assembling these names is to put an end to the harmful myth that there are not enough diverse scientists to give seminars, serve as panelists or fill scientific positions. We highlight scientists encompassing careers within academia, government and biotech and showcase individuals committed to serving diverse student populations as Hispanic-Serving Institutions."