The SIVB Distinguished Scientist Award recognizes outstanding mid-career scientists who have made significant contributions to the field of in vitro biology and/or in the development of novel technologies that have advanced in vitro biology.  The Society for In Vitro Biology honored Dr. Fredy Altpeter and Dr. Michael J. Fay as recipients of the Distinguished Scientist Award at the 2020 In Vitro Biology Meeting.  Dr. Fredy Altpeter’s Distinguished Scientist Award article was included in a previous issue of the In Vitro Report.  Dr. Michael J. Fay’s Distinguished Scientist Award article is included in the current issue of the In Vitro Report. 

Dr. Michael J. Fay

2020 SIVB Distinguished Scientist Award

Dr. Michael J. Fay

Michael J. Fay received his B.S. degree in Microbiology from the University of Maine (Orono, ME) in 1987, and his Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Mississippi (Oxford, MS) in 1992.  At the University of Mississippi he worked with Dr. Anthony Verlangieri in the Pharmacology Department, and used both in vivo and in vitro research models to study ascorbic acid transport. The Department of Pharmacology at the University of Mississippi awarded him the ‘Edith Pritchard Pharmacology Award’ in 1992.  From 1992 to 1997, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Endocrine Physiology Training Program at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth (Hanover/Lebanon, NH).  As a Postdoctoral Fellow, he was the recipient of an NIH Institutional training grant postdoctoral fellowship, and an individual postdoctoral fellowship from the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program.  While at Dartmouth he worked with Dr. William G. North in the Physiology Department to study the ectopic production of neuropeptides by cancer cells and the autocrine/paracrine effects of these neuropeptides.   In 1997, he accepted an Assistant Professor position in the Department of Pharmacology at Midwestern University (Downers Grove, IL), and in 2002 he was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure.  In 1999, he was invited to participate at the World Congress on Neurohypophysial Hormones in Edinburgh, Scotland. In addition to his academic appointment in the Pharmacology Department, in 2006 he was appointed as Director of the Biomedical Sciences Program at Midwestern University.  As Program Director, he managed the lecture-based Master of Arts in Biomedical Sciences Program (~85 students per year), and the research-based Master of Biomedical Sciences Program (~30 student per year).  In 2011, he was promoted to Professor at Midwestern University.  In 2013, Midwestern University awarded Dr. Fay with the Littlejohn Award.  This award is given annually to a faculty member who exemplifies the values of service, caring, and commitment.  In 2019, he was promoted to Associate Dean in the College of Graduate Studies at Midwestern University.  In this new role, Dr. Fay works with the Basic Science Departments (Anatomy, Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics, Microbiology & Immunology, Pathology, Pharmacology, and Physiology) that teach the Medical, Dental, Pharmacy, Physician Assistant, Physical Therapy, Optometry and Biomedical Sciences students, to ensure the continued success of the teaching and research programs at the University.  Dr. Fay also continues to work with the Biomedical Sciences Program to ensure the continued success of the research-based Master of Biomedical Sciences Program and the lecture-based Master of Arts in Biomedical Sciences.

Michael J. Fay, Ph.D., mentoring students in the Biomedical Sciences Program in the College of Graduate Studies at Midwestern University prior to the COVID-19 pandemic

Since joining the faculty at Midwestern University, he has been the recipient of a Research Career Enhancement Award from the American Physiological Society, and Principal Investigator on two funded R15 AREA grants from the National Cancer Institute.  He is currently a co-investigator on a funded NIH R15 AREA grant titled “Mechanisms of cadmium-induced dysglycemia.”  In addition, while at Midwestern University he has been a co-investigator or consultant on additional NIH-funded grants. Since joining Midwestern University his research has focused on cancer cell biology and cadmium toxicity.  His current research interests include examining the cellular/molecular alterations that occur during cadmium toxicity using both in vivo and in vitro research models. More specifically he is looking at the role of microRNAs in cadmium-induced nephrotoxicity and examining the utility of microRNAs as non-invasive biomarkers of kidney injury.  Dr. Fay has published 27 peer-reviewed research and educational articles (2 publications in In Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology-Animal) and has over fifty published abstracts from presentations at scientific conferences (18 abstracts from presentations at the annual In Vitro Biology Meeting).   He has served as a research mentor for more than 60 students (Osteopathic medicine, Pharmacy, Biomedical Sciences) since joining Midwestern University, and many of these students have presented their research at the annual In Vitro Biology Meeting.  

Since joining Midwestern University, Dr. Fay has taught in the Medical Pharmacology courses that are offered to the Osteopathic Medical, Pharmacy, Physician Assistant, and Biomedical Sciences students.  He created a lab-course for the Master of Biomedical Sciences Program titled ‘Fundamentals of Research’.  He also created a course for the Biomedical Sciences Programs called ‘Professional Development’, and in this course students learn about the various career options in the health professions; and they also receive training on resume and personal statement writing, and interview skills.  Dr. Fay has worked as part of a team in the development of new academic programs at Midwestern University that include Master of Arts in Biomedical Sciences, Master of Public Health, Master of Science in Precision Medicine, and Postgraduate certificate in Precision Medicine.            

Dr. Michael Fay has been a member of the Society for In Vitro Biology (SIVB) since 1991.  His Leadership roles in the SIVB include serving as the Chair of the In Vitro Animal Cell Sciences (IVACS) Section, Secretary on the SIVB Board of Directors, and Publications Committee Chair on the SIVB Board of Directors.   Since 2006, he has served as a Co-Editor for the In Vitro Report, and as a member of the Publications Committee.  He has also been an active participant at the annual In Vitro Biology Meetings over the years by serving as a Convenor for 3 Plenary Sessions, 6 Symposia, and 2 Workshop sessions.  He has also received the SIVB Distinguished Service Award twice.  Dr. Fay has also served as an item reviewer and contributed questions for the Level 1 National Osteopathic Board Exam. Since joining Midwestern University Dr. Fay has served on numerous committees and had served as faculty advisor of the pre-dental student association.  Dr. Fay was awarded a Student Services Outstanding Leadership and Service Award for his role as a student advisor at Midwestern University. 

Dr. Michael J. Fay has made and continues to make significant contributions in the areas of research, service, teaching and administration, which are all hallmarks of the SIVB Distinguished Scientist Award. 

Submitted by:
Mae Ciancio, Ph.D. 

Associate Professor 
Program Coordinator – Master of Biomedical Sciences Program  
Midwestern University

Kolla Kristjansdottir, Ph.D. 
Associate Professor 
Associate Program Director – Precision Medicine 
Midwestern University   

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