Margaret Werner-Washburne, Professor of Biology at UNM, has been given the honor of delivering the E.E. Just Lecture at the American Society of Cell Biology's 45th Annual Meeting in San Francisco in December of 2005. The American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB), founded in 1960, has as its purpose the promotion and development of the field of cell biology. It strives to ensure the future of basic scientific research by providing training and development opportunities for students and young investigators, and also by keeping Congress and the American public informed on the importance of biomedical research. Since its founding, the ASCB has grown to more than 11,000 members located throughout the United States and in 50 foreign countries.
The E.E. Just Lecture and award, begun in 1994, is presented at ASCB annual meetings and acknowledges an outstanding minority life scientist. This award is made to provide challenging role models to aspiring young scientists and to make the general ASCB membership more aware of the meritorious contributions of minority scientists. Dr. Ernest Everett Just (1883-1942), an African-American, devoted his whole professional life to teaching and research and became distinguished for his research in cell and developmental biology in the early 1900s. His work was better accepted in Europe, where his ethnicity was not an issue, than in the United States and is now being heralded as phenomenal discoveries. He became the authority of his time on embryology, predicting explanations of the fertilization process that only recent technology has been able to demonstrate.