Amy VanMeter Is the May Employee of the Month

Posted: May 1, 2009 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Ryann Doyle

President Merten and Amy VanMeter
President Alan Merten presents the Employee of the Month award to Amy VanMeter.
Creative Services photo

As a research specialist for the Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine (CAPMM), May Employee of the Month Amy VanMeter is described by her colleagues as an “independent, creative and rigorous scientist.”

VanMeter has been working on the Prince William Campus for five years; however, her Mason roots go back further than that. She earned a BS in biology from Mason in 2003. While she was working on her degree, she spent a year as an intern with researchers Luca Del Giacco and Francesco Gorreta and got lab experience in molecular biology and gene arrays.

Now a full-time scientist, VanMeter is responsible for many aspects of the research process. Aside from working in the lab conducting experiments, she is also responsible for data analysis, writing scientific papers and presenting work at conferences.

VanMeter’s colleagues in CAPMM value her committed, enthusiastic and results-oriented attitude.

“Throughout her career at Mason, I have seen her strive for excellence and push beyond the outer limits. She is always thinking creatively,” says Andrea Nikoi, director of finance and human resources for Life Sciences.

“Amy started assisting the proteomics team in the CAPMM, and her new areas of interest and research became alive for her. In a short period of time, Amy became an essential and welcomed contributor to the mission.”

In 2007, VanMeter built a unique program, the Aspiring Scientists Summer Internship Program, with Lance Liotta and Emanuel Petricoin, the CAPMM co-directors.

“It is a great program because college and high school students work in the laboratory alongside astounding university scientists, and they get to participate in the same work that we are doing,” explains VanMeter.

“They get the opportunity to potentially have their names on publications, present their work to the community and request letters of recommendation. This program sets them apart from other students who are applying to college, medical or graduate school because they already have the experience that most people do not have at their age.”

The Prince William Office of Administration and University Life partner with CAPMM each year to manage the program.

“This is a wonderful, worthwhile program and is a huge success solely due to Amy’s commitment to the advancement of the science program and the enhancement of future scientists,” says JoAnn Stevens, coordinator of campus operations for Prince William Administration.

VanMeter is currently working on an ex-vivo clinical study on multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cell.

“We are treating bone marrow aspirates with different drugs to discover effective treatments for the disease and identify patients who will respond to a particular therapy.”

While her position allows her to make contributions to the scientific field, VanMeter says working for Mason has also helped her to grow professionally.

“I have had a great opportunity to contribute to the scientific community by publishing articles, as well as presenting our work at conferences such as the American Association of Cancer Research.”

VanMeter likes all facets of her job, but most enjoys the people with whom she works.

“I work with a group of very intelligent scientists who are extremely motivated to make advancements in cancer research. I am lucky to have such amazing bosses, Dr. Liotta, Dr. Petricoin and Virginia Espina, who allow me to grow as an individual and provide input into the projects we are working on.”

There is no doubt her co-workers enjoy working with her, too.

“She is very active in the laboratory work, puts a lot of effort into her work and spends countless hours for her experiments to be carefully completed,” says Alessandra Luchini, research assistant professor for CAPMM. “She is always very helpful and generously provides advice when asked. She helps keep the laboratory clean and organized, thus benefiting everybody’s work.”

“Amy has always been proactive, supportive and positive with great motivation in solving problems. She is a hard-working scientist who enjoys collaborating with her colleagues,” says Gorreta, a fellow researcher who worked with VanMeter at Mason. “She understands exactly how to move a project forward, but at the same time she has the wisdom to know when and how to get help when needed.”

Write to at