Renthal wins Ida M. Green Award

By Deborah Wormser / June 2011

Nora E. Renthal, a student in the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), lead author on multiple studies and a mentor to teenagers and UT Southwestern students, has won the 25th annual Ida M. Green Award.

In accepting the award, Ms. Renthal said that because her parents and grandparents were involved in art, music and philosophy, her interest in science forced her to adapt to a new language and culture. That experience sparked her desire to help others navigate similar transitions, such as encouraging young women to consider careers in science at the annual STARS symposium for middle school and high school students.

“I am honored to receive this award, named for such a remarkable woman with such an important vision: to open new career paths for women in science,” she said. “I hope that during my time in graduate school I have served in some small part to try to fulfill Mrs. Green’s mission.”

Nora Renthal accepts congratulation on receiving the Ida M. Green Award from Dr. Kern Wildenthal (left) and Rust Reid. The 2011event marked the 25th anniversary of the first award, which continues to honor the memory of one of UT Southwestern’s most fervent supporters.

The Green award recognizes quality research as well as service to the community. The award was established by Southwestern Medical Foundation in honor of Mrs. Green. Her husband, Cecil Green, co-founded Texas Instruments after starting his career at General Electric. Mrs. Green died in 1986 and Mr. Green in 2003.

Mrs. Green provided unrestricted gifts to many community organizations, including a major bequest to the foundation.

At UT Southwestern, Ms. Renthal created and chaired a monthly mentorship series at which female MSTP students could seek guidance from faculty and residents, and she served as an organizer and speaker for an annual symposium for girls in middle school and high school.

The mother of two young children and wife of 2011 UT Southwestern graduate Dr. William Renthal, she worked with the Women in Science and Medicine Advisory Committee to expand lactation services for employees and students at UT Southwestern’s campuses and hospitals.

“Nora is an absolutely amazing young woman – intellectually, scholastically, as a creative scientist and as a warm and caring person who selflessly gives of her time and energy to help others,” said Dr. Carole Mendelson, professor of biochemistry and obstetrics and gynocology.

In 2010, Ms. Renthal was lead author on studies published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and Immunogenetics based on work she did in Dr. Mendelson’s laboratory on the role of microRNAs in pregnancy.

Her resolve to combine research and clinical medicine was shaped by her cross-cultural experiences conducting field work at a hospital in the Himalayan foothills of India while she was in college. The open-air hospital was modern enough to conduct laproscopic surgery but had no working toilets.

“Seeing the magnitude of need certainly shaped my desire to approach the problem of health bi-directionally, as a scientist at the bench and a physician in the clinics,” she said.

At a recent reception on campus, Ms. Renthal was presented with a certificate and $2,000 by Dr. Kern Wildenthal, president of Southwestern Medical Foundation and former president of UT Southwestern, and Rust Reid, former trustee and vice president of the Cecil and Ida Green Foundation.

After she completes medical school, Ms. Renthal said she plans to continue to pursue her interest in hormone biology through a career in pediatric endocrinology.