Karen L. OMalley, PhD
Karen L. O’Malley, PhD, professor of neurobiology, is an innovative and highly respected neuroscientist and an exceptional leader among Washington University School of Medicine Faculty.
In 1993 O’Malley was elected to the Senate Faculty council, followed in 1996 by election to the Executive Committee of the Faculty Council (ECFC). She was
the pre-clinical representative to the ECFC for several years, then the body’s vice chair and chair. In all of these roles, O’Malley was known as a diligent, collegial and eJective leader who originated and advocated for many policies to benefit faculty.
A tireless advocate for women faculty, O’Malley is a founding member of the Academic Women’s Network and served as its president 2001-2002. During her four-year tenure on the Gender Equity Committee, she and the group successfully addressed several issues, including increasing the number of endowed professorships for female faculty, improvements in child care facilities, changing the institutional policy to provide flexibility in the tenure clock, and addressing gender imbalances in faculty compensation. She also has served on a national level with the Association of Women in Science.
In addition to her leadership roles, O’Malley is an extremely successful scientist whose work includes investigating the molecular and cellular events associated with cell death and survival of dopaminergic neurons — of great relevance to Parkinson’s disease — and groundbreaking studies of the role of metabotropic glutamate receptors in cell signaling.
Well recognized as an outstanding educator, O’Malley co-directed the neuroscience graduate program for five years and has an impressive track record of mentoring postdoctoral fellows and students at all levels. She has been honored with the Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award and a Distinguished Educator Award for Postdoctoral Research Mentoring.
O’Malley earned her bachelor’s degree from California State University of Sonoma in 1971, a master’s degree from Portland State University and her doctoral degree from the University of Texas, Austin, in 1980. She completed postdoctoral training at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, Cetus Palo Alto, and Stanford University Medical Center. She joined the Washington University faculty in 1984.
The Washington University Medical Center Alumni Association is pleased to present its Distinguished Service Award to Dr. O’Malley.