MU professor first woman to receive James B. Eads award

Elizabeth Bryda’s research has centered on the use of animals to better understand human disease.

MU professor and researcher Elizabeth Bryda received the James B. Eads Award from the Academy of Science in St. Louis for her research on the use of animals to study human disease.

Bryda is the first woman to receive the James B. Eads Award in its 17-year history. The award is given to regional scientists who have distinguished achievement in engineering or technology with a preference given to researchers who have a record of community engagement.

Bryda said she was “really surprised” when she found out she had won the award. She said that she believes the award usually goes to engineering types and that her field of genetic engineering is “a different kind of technology.”

While Bryda received the award for her research at large, her work at the Animal Modeling Core and the Rat Resource & Research Center has been at the center of much of her research. There, she genetically modifies animals through various methods, including a process called cell ablation, in order to create animal models used to understand either specific genes of interest or human disease through mimicry of it.

These animal models go on to be used in labs at MU and other universities. Bryda has even used them in her own research of inflammatory bowel disease and polycystic kidney disease.

Bryda’s students are also involved in her research. Doctoral students do projects for their dissertations and undergraduate students work in the lab to gain experience for graduate school.

Along with research at MU, Bryda has worked at the research facility in Columbia known as RADIL, where she has largely investigated cell lines, a process that uses cells normally found inside the body and grows those cells outside the body using a culture dish or in vitro.

Specifically, she and her colleagues tested methods of cell line authentication in order to ensure that cell lines don’t get contaminated. Preventing contamination of cell lines ensures that results aren’t skewed.

A dinner will be held April 5 at the Missouri Botanical Garden to celebrate Bryda and fellow winners of awards recognized at the 24th Annual Outstanding St. Louis Scientists Awards.

Edited by Stephi Smith | ssmith@themaneater.com

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