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The Catalyst

Excellence in Science Research awarded to professor

By Bilan Williams
Public Relations

Established in 1989, the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Science Research is annually awarded to a person who has made major contributions to the state of South Carolina in any area of science. The 2013 recipient was MUSC’s Rosalie Crouch, Ph.D., Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology.

Gov. Nikki Haley gave the award to Crouch on June 14 at the South Carolina State House in Columbia. Crouch joined the MUSC faculty as an assistant professor in 1975 and has done extensive research in the fields of ophthalmology and biochemistry.

Dr. Rosalie Crouch accepts the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Science Research from South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, far left. With Crouch is her son, Richard, daughter-in-law Heather and grandchildren William and Kelsey.

“I am very grateful to all those who made this possible,” said Crouch. “I have always considered myself a nerd who loved chemistry, numbers and puzzles, so obviously research would be my thing.”

Crouch is no stranger to state recognition. She also received the State of South Carolina Governor’s Award for Outstanding Service in 2002 and was awarded the MUSC Distinguished Faculty Service Award in 2003.

She hopes her accomplishments in science encourage more advancement in all professional fields: primarily an increase in the amount of women who aim to achieve their highest aspirations and are recognized for it. One of Crouch’s greatest accomplishments was being named MUSC’s first female provost and vice president for academic affairs in 2000.

“I am pleased to have broken some barriers. Women in science deal with a biological impediment – namely the desire to have children — at a critical point in their career,” she said.

Although Crouch believes women are more likely to encounter hindrances than men, she is optimistic about the future. “Things are improving, and society is certainly more accepting. I am sure we will see more women in leadership positions.”

Many of Crouch’s past trainees have gone on to nationally renowned leadership positions in the field of science and have made vital innovative discoveries in their respective research areas.

“One of my trainees, Michael Redmond, discovered the protein that when mutated results in blindness and has been used in the first successful gene therapy trials. The understanding of the role of this protein and this disorder is based on our decades of study on vitamin A,” Crouch said.

Despite her passion for vision research, Crouch, who owns a home on Edisto Island, delights in her time spent away from the laboratory as well. While she enjoys number-based activities such as bird watching, change-bell ringing and duplicating bridge, she also said baby-sitting her three grandchildren is one of her favorite hobbies. “The children are 2, 3, and 4 and are too young to know if they will be interested in science yet. But they can count, which is encouraging,” she said.

Crouch is a member of the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Eye Institute, a senior scientific investigator of Research to Prevent Blindness, and serves as a principal investigator of a 30-year-old National Institutes of Health grant. She also is a recipient of an NIH Special Career Achievement Award.

June 26, 2013

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