Excellence Award 2019 | Deborah Stenkamp
Research and Creative Activity Excellence Award
Professor Deborah Stenkamp joined the faculty at the University of Idaho in 1997 as an assistant professor in the College of Science's Department of Biological Sciences.
During her 20-plus years at U of I, Stenkamp has examined the cellular and molecular mechanisms of retinal development in animals and humans. She specifically researches differentiation of rod and cone photoreceptors, which are special cells that respond to light and mediate vision. Human retinal diseases involving the loss of these cells result in blindness. Stenkamp’s work, which has focused on the cellular and molecular mechanisms that result in retinal regeneration following retinal damage, may one day help pave the way for new approaches to help treat humans with vision loss – and possibly other disorders that can deteriorate the nervous system.
Stenkamp has been the principal investigator on a wide range of NIH-funded biomedical research projects at U of I. She is also a leader in the Institute for Modeling Collaboration and Innovation’s Evolution of Tandemly-Replicated Opsin Genes working group and a leading collaborator for the Office of Research and Economic Development's (ORED) Institute for Bioinformatics and Evolutionary Studies (IBEST). She has been named as a lead or co-author on nearly 100 published works in her field.
Stenkamp earned her Bachelor of Arts in biology at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. She completed her Ph.D. in neuroscience at the Wilmer Eye Institute of Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore, Maryland. She also conducted postdoctoral work at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor before coming to the University of Idaho.