Making a difference

Wright State researcher Clintoria Williams receives an American Physiological Society mentorship award for impacting trainees at Wright State and beyond

The American Physiological Society honored Clintoria R. Williams, associate professor of neuroscience, cell biology, and physiology at Wright State, for mentoring students from underrepresented groups in the physiological sciences.

Clintoria R. Williams, Ph.D., associate professor of neuroscience, cell biology, and physiology at Wright State University, is the 2024 recipient of the A. Clifford Barger Underrepresented Minority Mentorship Award from the American Physiological Society.

The American Physiological Society is a community of researchers, educators and trainees in physiology and related disciplines working to advance understanding of life and health.

The A. Clifford Barger Underrepresented Minority Mentorship Award promotes the society’s goal of broadening diversity among physiologists by identifying outstanding mentors who significantly impact diversity in physiology. The award recognizes mentoring as a highly valued professional activity that merits a high-level award.

The award committee was impressed with Williams’ leadership, guidance and mentorship of students and trainees from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups in the physiological sciences. The selectors noted her accomplishments in the number of mentees and evidence of successful outcomes for her research trainees.

Williams will be recognized at the American Physiology Summit in Long Beach, California next April.

Williams was nominated by one of her former mentees, Adaku Ume, an M.D./Ph.D. student who worked in Williams’ lab.

Ume, who received two prestigious research fellowships last year, coordinated nomination materials from Williams’ department chair, mentors, colleagues, and current and former undergraduate and graduate students.

“It was a pleasure to lead the charge in nominating Dr. Williams for this distinction. Mentorship is her love language, and she should be recognized for her continuous efforts,” said Ume.

Other physiology and neuroscience students Williams has mentored have also been recognized for their achievements in their field of study in recent years.

Last summer, Adeline Nshuti and Kelia McMichael excelled in prestigious internships with the National Institutes of Health Short-Term Research Experience Program to Unlock Potential (STEP-UP) program.

Kelia McMichael, a physiology and neuroscience student, received three prestigious awards for research presentations she made at two national meetings last year. These included the Best Undergraduate Poster Presentation Award at the Conference for Black in Physiology, the Outstanding Undergraduate Abstract Award and the Excellence in Undergraduate Research Award at the American Physiology Summit.

In 2022, Williams received a four-year, nearly $2 million award from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases to further her research aimed at identifying novel therapeutic approaches effective for chronic kidney disease, filling critical gaps in therapeutic knowledge of zinc supplementation and mechanistic understanding of zinc-sensitive kidney pathways.

She also received the 2022 Carl W. Gottschalk Research Scholar Grant through KidneyCure.

“As we move toward providing a research experience for more of our students to help reduce our achievement gap, Dr. Williams’ dedication to and success in this effort will be invaluable not only in providing such outstanding mentorship but also with her serving as an example for all of us to emulate,” said Eric Bennett, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Neuroscience, Cell Biology and Physiology at Wright State.

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