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Mala R. Chinoy of Penn State College of Medicine, was recently honored as a 2005 Emerald Honors Recipient in the Career Achievement category at the Minorities in Research Science Conference held in Baltimore last year. Established by Science Spectrum Magazine, the conference recognizes exceptionally talented minorities from a broad range of scientific fields. Chinoy, who hails from Rajkot in Gujarat, was recognized for her extensive research and work in the field of Cardiopulmonary Developmental Defects.

Chinoy began her career as a pulmonary developmental biologist in 1987. “My heart was set on exploring and investigating developmental defects in fetal lungs and in the newborns,” she explains. In 1994 she created a mouse model to study a human newborn condition of pulmonary hypoplasia and associated cardiac abnormalities and congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH)—she developed the first reproducible mouse model of this condition, which brought her and her research associates worldwide recognition. “Plenty of research and progress has made its way in the last 10 years,” says Chinoy.

“This career achievement award meant a lot to me because it is truly a national-level award,” says Chinoy. “I am a professor and an accomplished scientist. In the past several years I have been invited for several state-of-the art talks at national and international conferences, but none of those events felt as sweet and rewarding as public recognition of my dedication and achievement in scientific research.”

Chinoy’s research articles have been read around the world by parents who lost their babies to this cardiopulmonary condition; many have e-mailed and telephoned her.

“It is moving to get these mails and to come to understand that there are people out there who trust my research work and my opinion. They share their personal feelings and their fears with me. It makes me feel very responsible for what I do and what I communicate …” It’s what keeps her motivated and going.