Susan Quaggin, director of the Feinberg Cardiovascular and Renal Research Institute at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, and Ellen Wartella, chair of the Department of Communication Studies at the University’s School of Communication, are the recipients of the 13th annual Dorothy Ann and Clarence L. Ver Steeg Distinguished Research Fellowship Award.
The Ver Steeg Fellowship supports research and scholarship by tenured Northwestern professors whose work enhances the national and international reputation of the University and carries an award of $40,000 per award recipient. The Ver Steeg Fellowship Award expanded this year to include two award winners for the first time.
“These two scholars truly encapsulate Northwestern’s commitment to address the most challenging issues of our time through academic inquiry and discovery,” said Provost Jonathan Holloway, whose office bestows the Ver Steeg Fellowship annually. “Both global leaders in their fields, Ellen and Susan have forged new frontiers as scientists while improving quality of human life.”
Quaggin also is the chief of the Division of Nephrology/Hypertension, the Charles Horace Mayo Professor of Medicine and the principal investigator on numerous National Institutes of Health grants.
Quaggin, whose recent work focuses on uncovering the genetic roots of congenital glaucoma, is the senior author on two international scientific collaborations. The studies identified mutations that cause improper drainage and a buildup of ocular pressure leading to one form of congenital glaucoma and identified a path towards future treatments for the disease.
Under Quaggin’s leadership, the institute has seen significant growth, tripling the number of researchers working to improve quality of life of patients through creative basic, translational research and scholarship in the field of vascular medicine.
Wartella is the Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani Professor of Communication and a professor of psychology, of human development and social policy, and of medical social sciences. She is co-principal investigator on a five-year multi-site grant from the National Science Foundation titled “Collaborative Research: Using Educational DVDs to Enhance Young Children’s STEM Education.”
Wartella’s important research has made her a world leader in studies of the impact of media on children, and especially on their health and cognitive development.
“I am truly honored to be recognized by Northwestern, which is well known as an outstanding research university,” Wartella said.
Recently, Wartella surveyed 5,000 adolescents, young adults and parents in the U.S., U.K., Brazil, Australia and New Zealand, to ascertain how audiences perceived, related to and were influenced by the popular, highly controversial Netflix series, “13 Reasons Why.”
The author and editor of many books, articles and reports, Wartella also served as provost and dean at previous institutions. She has numerous awards and honors and is a Fellow in the Association for Psychological Science and in the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She also has served on many advisory boards including the Board of Trustees for Sesame workshop and the PBS Kids Next Generation Media Advisory Board.
The Ver Steeg Fellowship was established and endowed by the late Clarence L. Ver Steeg and his wife, Dorothy. Clarence Ver Steeg was a faculty member in the department of history from 1950 to 1992 and served as dean of The Graduate School from 1975 to 1986.
Administered by the Office of the Provost, the fellowship is the first endowed award for excellence in research by a faculty member. A complete list of recipients can be found on the Office of the Provost website.