Newswise — MAYWOOD, Il. – Katherine Radek, PhD, of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, has received a prestigious Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.

It’s the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their research careers. Dr. Radek is among 102 researchers to receive the honor.

“The impressive achievements of these early-stage scientists and engineers are promising indicators of even greater successes ahead,” President Obama said. “We are grateful for their commitment to generating the scientific and technical advancements that will ensure America’s global leadership for many years to come.”

Dr. Radek grew up in Oak Lawn and Chicago and went to Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School. She earned a PhD degree in 2005 from Loyola’s Stritch School of Medicine, in the laboratory of Luisa DiPietro, DDS, PhD. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in 2009 at the University of California at San Diego, in the laboratory of Richard Gallo, MD, PhD. She now is an assistant professor in the Department of Surgery of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine and a member of the university’s Burn and Shock Trauma Research Institute.

Dr. Radek is researching the mechanisms by which stress responses and nicotinic receptors influence the immune system in models of inflammatory skin diseases (such as atopic dermatitis and chronic wounds) and traumatic burn injury. Her lab is funded by the National Institutes of Health, the 3M Wound Healing Society Foundation Fellowship and the Ralph and Marian C. Falk Medical Research Trust.

Presidential Early Career Awards recipients are employed or funded by the Department of Health and Human Services and other federal department and agencies. Nominations are based on early accomplishments that show the greatest promise for assuring America’s preeminence in science and engineering and contributing to the awarding agencies’ missions. Each award is of five years duration.

Dr. Radek and her fellow winners will receive their awards at a Washington, DC, ceremony in 2014.