Dr. Cheng Wang to receive inaugural postdoc award

by Chuck Brown, UNMC public affairs | September 05, 2007

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Cheng Wang, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral researchers are considered the workhorses of almost every research institution.

Cheng Wang, Ph.D., a postdoc researcher in the UNMC Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, certainly fits the bill.

From providing key support to his mentor's National Institutes of Health-funded proposal to presenting his research findings to thousands of scientists at major international conventions, Dr. Wang is a valuable part of the UNMC research team.

"Dr. Wang is an extremely motivated, hard-working and diligent scientist," said Shyamal Roy, Ph.D., an ovarian biologist and professor in the obstetrics/gynecology department who serves as Dr. Wang's adviser. "He also has a terrific sense of humor and is a real pleasure to work with each day."

For his efforts, Dr. Wang will be presented with the inaugural UNMC Postdoctoral Scholar of the Year Award on Monday during the Annual Postdoctoral Seminar and Forum, which will be at noon in the Eppley Science Hall Amphitheater.

Along with the award, Dr. Wang will receive $500.

Dr. Roy also will be commended for his excellent work as Dr. Wang's adviser. For his part, Dr. Roy thanked the Olson Foundation for providing research support to the ob/gyn department, and Carl Smith, M.D., the department's chairman, for helping him get the resources needed to train scholars such as Dr. Wang.

Dr. Wang helps Dr. Roy in his NIH-funded fertility research -- with Dr. Wang working primarily to see how estrogen affects the development of primordial follicles that determine the fertility in all mammals. In women, a single egg is ovulated in each cycle from a follicle that originates from primordial follicles.

Dr. Wang's research was published in "Endocrinology" -- which Dr. Roy called "one of the most important journals for the world's endocrinologists."

Dr. Wang also has recently presented his research at the Endocrine Society's annual meeting -- which is attended by more than 10,000 scientists from around the world -- and at the annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Reproduction, a specialized international organization for biologists.

For the past two years, he has received $35,000 in research support from the Lalor Foundation through a very competitive program that typically funds less than 10 scientists from a pool of 150 to 200 applicants each year.

To receive a second year of research support from the foundation is a rare occurrence, Dr. Roy said.

Iqbal Ahmad, Ph.D., associate dean and director of postdoctoral education at UNMC, said Dr. Wang embodies what postdoctoral researchers should be and that he was happy to see such a scientist rewarded for his efforts.

"Recognition of research and scholarship on the part of postdoctoral scholars is extremely important and long overdue given the fact that we owe our success in research -- to a great extent -- to their relentless efforts," Dr. Ahmad said.

Dr. Ahmad's comments were echoed by Rubens Pamies, M.D., vice chancellor for academic affairs and dean for graduate students.

"Dr. Wang demonstrates the traits that make us believe that we have some of the best postdoctoral scholars in the world right here at UNMC," Dr. Pamies said. "I'm happy to be able to recognize him and future scholars for work that is so vital to our research enterprise."

Dr. Wang -- who received his Ph.D. in 2002 from the College of Animal Science and Technology, Nanjing Agricultural University in China -- said two parties played significant roles in his success -- Dr. Roy and his wife, Ouyang.

"I have received excellent scientific training under Dr. Roy's direction," Dr. Wang said. "And without my wife's unselfish support for the past few years, I would not have been able to spend long days and nights in the lab."