In recognition of her highly regarded immunobiology and leukemia research, the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation named OMRF investigator Dr. Xiao-Hong Sun its S. Graham Smith Distinguished Scientist at the OMRF Board of Directors biannual meeting Tuesday in Oklahoma City.
Also Tuesday, two longtime OMRF board members were named life directors and two distinguished Oklahoma women were added to the OMRF board.
John F. Snodgrass of Ardmore and C. Randolph Everest of Oklahoma City were made life directors for their years of service on the OMRF board, while Wanda Bass of McAlester and Malinda Berry Fischer of Stillwater each received unanimous approval for membership to the 91-member board.
Sun, an associate member in OMRF’s Immunobiology and Cancer Research Program, studies the roles of a family of transcription factors in lymphocyte, or white blood cells, development and leukemia. She is also investigating the mechanisms of tumorigenesis in patients with T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
“Dr. Sun has established a very successful laboratory at OMRF, and her work has resulted in the publication of several significant papers in important scientific journals,” said OMRF President Dr. J. Donald Capra. “She is at the forefront of an exciting and promising area of research, and is very deserving of this honor.”
The S. Graham Smith Distinguished Scientist position bears the name of a longtime member of the OMRF Board of Directors and Certified Public Accountant from Okmulgee.
A graduate of Beijing Medical University, Beijing, China, Dr. Sun received her Ph.D. degree from Cornell University in 1987. She completed her postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Nobel laureate David Baltimore at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research.
Dr. Sun served as Associate Professor in the Department of Cell Biology at New York University’s School of Medicine before joining OMRF’s scientific staff in 1999.
In addition to Dr. Sun’s recognition, the board acknowledged the accomplishments of Snodgrass, Everest, Bass and Fischer.
“John Snodgrass and Randy Everest have each devoted more than 20 years of thoughtful, focused and inspirational service to the OMRF board,” said OMRF Board Chairman Len Cason. “They are unquestionably deserving of the board’s highest honor. OMRF is a stronger, better institution because of their leadership.”
Since 1982, Snodgrass has served OMRF in many capacities and on several board committees, including the chairmanship of OMRF’s Investment Committee from 1986 to 2001.
He is president emeritus of the Noble Foundation, Inc., and was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1993. He was named Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence Distinguished Trustee for 2001 and has served on the Oklahoma Arts Institute, the Oklahoma Academy for State Goals, the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, Inc., and both the YMCA and the YWCA.
Snodgrass in managing partner of Snodgrass Interests, LLC; president and chief executive officer of Southern Oklahoma Memorial Foundation, Inc.; president and CEO of Community Activities Inc. or Ardmore; and trustee emeritus of the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Inc.
OMRF’s Board of Directors recognized Snodgrass in 1995 with its Distinguished Service Award.
Everest, a graduate of the University of Oklahoma School of Law, has been an OMRF board member since 1978. He chaired the OMRF Development Committee from 1983 to 1992 and has served on the Executive Committee since 1983.
Everest is retired executive vice president of BancOklahoma Trust Company. He previously served in top positions with the First National Bank and Trust Company of Oklahoma City and North Carolina National Bank. He also served as chairman and founder of The Trust Company of Oklahoma.
Everest was president of the Economic Club of Oklahoma and campaign chairman of the Oklahoma City Area United Way. He has served on the boards of the Oklahoma County and Oklahoma State Bar Associations; Bone and Joint Hospital; Oklahoma City Allied Arts Foundation and Oklahoma Symphony. He was also a member of the trust divisions of the American and Oklahoma Bankers Associations.
Ms. Bass, chairman of the board of the First National Bank of McAlester, and Ms. Fischer, chairman of the Thomas N. Berry and Company, and president of the Marietta Royalty Co., were both named to OMRF’s development committee.
“Wanda Bass and Malinda Berry Fischer will be outstanding assets to the OMRF board, just as they have been to their communities, state and nation for many years,” said Cason. “They bring an impressive measure of talent and experience to the board, and their commitment to OMRF’s mission is gratifying.”
Ms. Bass, is a 1947 graduate of the University of Texas with a bachelor’s of science degree in institutional management and nutrition.
She was elected to the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1998 for her work in the banking industry and for promoting philanthropy and culture in Oklahoma. Ms. Bass and her late husband, Clark, share the sole recognition of being the only married couple in the Hall of Fame.
Through the years, Ms. Bass has donated millions of dollars to numerous educational, civic, cultural and community projects. Most recently, she made a $2.5 million donation to Oklahoma City University for the purchase of 105 Steinway pianos, the largest Steinway order ever.
The Basses helped subsidize many philanthropic projects in McAlester and Hartshorne, including a higher education center on the McAlester campus of Eastern Oklahoma State College, as well as numerous additions and improvements to McAlester and Pittsburg County area public schools and the McAlester Regional Health Center.
Ms. Fischer graduated from Oklahoma State University with a bachelor of science degree, and from the Harvard Business School.
She previously served as chair of the trust committee and on the executive committee of the Chase Manhattan Bank’s Rochester Division; chair of the Al Sigl Center; vice president for development of the American Red Cross Rochester-Monroe County Chapter; chair of the nominating and development committees at Strong Memorial Hospital; chair of the Margaret Woodbury Strong Museum; and president of the Harvard Business School Club of Rochester and secretary-treasurer of the Harvard Business School Alumni Association.
Ms. Fischer currently serves on the boards of Thomas N. Berry and Company; Marietta Royalty Co.; Heritage Trust Co.; Leadership Oklahoma, Inc.; Oklahoma State University Friends of Music; and the Meridian Technology Center Foundation Advisory Committee.
A recipient of numerous community service awards, she is immediate past president of the Stillwater Museum Association and trustee of the Oklahoma State University Foundation.
Chartered in 1946, OMRF is a private, non-profit, biomedical research institution which employs more than 450 scientists, physicians, technicians, and administrative and support personnel. OMRF focused on several critical areas of research: Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, lupus and other autoimmune diseases, stroke, AIDS, aging, children’s diseases and genetic disorders.