Penn State honors five with Outstanding Science Alumni Award

September 29, 2011

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Five alumni of the Penn State Eberly College of Science will be honored with the Outstanding Science Alumni Award for the year 2011. Receiving this award are David Dunson, Susan Gardlik, Albert "Fred" Hartman, Allan Silberman and Bruce Wellman. The Board of Directors of the Eberly College of Science Alumni Society established this award in 1997 to recognize alumni who have a record of significant professional achievements in their field and who are outstanding role models for the current students in the college.

David Dunson is a professor in the Department of Statistical Science at Duke University. The youngest child of Penn State biology professors Bill and Margaret Dunson, David was born in Australia in the 1970s while his father was there studying sea snakes. Dunson graduated from State College Area High School in 1990 and was an Academic All-American in Swimming, an award given by the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association. After sampling undergraduate majors in engineering, geology, and biology, Dunson graduated with a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Penn State in 1994 and was Academic All-Big Ten in Cross Country.

Dunson earned a doctoral degree in biostatistics at Emory University in 1997, winning the Graduate School Excellence Award for the Top Dissertation in the Sciences. In 2008, after 11 years at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Dunson accepted a position as a professor at Duke University. His research focuses on the development of novel Bayesian statistical methods motivated by high-dimensional and complex data sets. His methods have been applied widely to studies of public health and medicine, machine learning, and human fertility. He is principal investigator of two NIH grants on new statistical methods relevant to public health and medical research. Dunson is a fellow of the American Statistical Association and the Institute of Mathematical Statistics. He is the winner of the 2007 Mortimer Spiegelman Award, given to an outstanding public health statistician under age 40; the 2010 Lefkopoulou Distinguished Lectureship at Harvard; and the 2010 Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies (COPSS) Presidents' Award, given to a person under the age of 41 in recognition for outstanding contributions to the profession of statistics. In his spare time he enjoys oil painting, open-water swimming, and distance running. He lives in Chapel Hill, N.C., with his wife Amy, a professor at the University of North Carolina, and their three sons, Sam, Simon and Peter.

Sue Gardlik has held the position of vice president of Drug Discovery Portfolio Management at GlaskoSmithKline (GSK) during the last five years, heading a global community of portfolio-management directors and analysts. She also has served on GSK leadership teams for Drug Discovery, Global Project/Portfolio Management, and Global Project Strategy. Gardlik currently is on a 14-month assignment, serving as an adviser at Stiefel, a GSK Company, focusing on the development of dermatological medicines.

Gardlik has expertise in biochemistry, drug discovery and development, portfolio and project management, technical writing, process design and implementation, and training design and facilitation. She has led the application of performance analysis, decision analysis, and portfolio modeling toward objective setting; risk management; and budget management in drug discovery to inform strategy and to identify and solve problems.

Gardlik earned a bachelor's degree in biochemistry at Penn State in 1983, and in 1988 she earned a doctoral degree in biochemistry at Duke University, where she worked with K.V. Rajagopalan on the molybdenum cofactor. Gardlik has spent her entire 24-year career in the pharmaceutical industry at GSK, joining as a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Drug Metabolism, where her post-doctoral work centered on the enzyme family glutathione S-transferases. Since then, she has developed and held a variety of roles in biological documentation, research planning, project management, and portfolio management. Additionally, Gardlik has served as a liaison in university recruitment and student career development.

Fred Hartman is a physician who specializes in infectious diseases and epidemiology. He has over 30 years experience as a technical adviser, senior project manager, epidemiologist and professor. Currently, he is the global technical lead for communicable diseases and epidemic preparedness for all activities of the organization Management Sciences for Health (MSH). In this capacity, he led the human health activities in the Stamping out Pandemic and Avian Influenza (STOP AI). He also is the country lead for the MSH Ethiopia HIV/AIDS Care and Support Program (HCSP) and the Sudan Health Transformation Project II (SHTP II). He previously has served as a principal program associate in the MSH Office of Business and Resource Development and as technical director and deputy chief of party of MSH's Rural Expansion of Afghanistan's Community-based Healthcare (REACH) project, based in Kabul. Hartman has consulted for USAID, UNICEF, WHO, and PLAN International. He worked as a senior technical advisor with the Hope for African Children Initiative (HACI), a project of a pan-African consortium involving six major non-governmental organizations focusing on the needs of children affected by HIV and AIDS. Hartman has devoted many years to teaching about infectious diseases, including Tuberculoses; HIV; SARS; and seasonal, pandemic, and avian influenza. He is the author of the book, "Window on Afghanistan: Rebuilding Health, Hope and the Human Spirit," and numerous articles in the field of infectious diseases. He is fluent in Portuguese and Spanish.

Hartman received a bachelor of science degree from Penn State in 1965. He graduated from Temple University in 1969, where he obtained a doctoral degree in medicine. In 1975, Hartman earned his master's degree in public health at the University of California.

Allan W. Silberman is the clinical chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, Calif., where he holds the Robert J. and Suzanne Gottlieb Endowed Chair in Surgical Oncology. His current research interest involves the genetic analysis of patients with multiple primary malignancies.

Silberman has clinical expertise in surgery of the esophagus and pancreas. He also is a specialist in gastrointestinal breast cancer, melanoma and sarcoma surgery. Silberman has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors in both research and teaching and has published extensively in peer-reviewed publications. He also co-edited, with his brother Howard Silberman, professor of surgery at the University of Southern California, the 2010 textbook "Principles and Practice of Surgical Oncology: Multidisciplinary Approach to Difficult Problems."

Silberman received a bachelor of science degree from Penn State in 1968. He received a doctoral degree in biochemistry from Boston University in 1973 and a doctoral degree in medicine from Boston University in 1975. Silberman completed his residency in general surgery at the Tufts-New England Medical Center in Boston, and he completed a fellowship in surgical oncology at the John Wayne Cancer Institute at the University of California School of Medicine.

Silberman and his wife Kathleen, have one daughter, Samantha, and live in Pacific Palisades, California.

Bruce Wellman teaches aerospace and engineering chemistry at Olathe Northwest High School in Kansas. This class covers traditional high-school chemistry with an additional emphasis on materials science; specifically, metals and polymers. Wellman's career in education spans 17 years. He began teaching in 1993 at Sussex Central High School in Georgetown, Del. He later taught at Baldwin Park High School in Baldwin, Calif. from 1994 to 1996. From 1999 to 2004, Wellman was a development worker in the Comoro Islands in East Africa. While there, he taught English at the French-speaking public school, and he also provided technical computer support and data analysis for the regional education office.

In 2009, Wellman was selected by President Obama to receive the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. The annual award, one of the nation's highest honors for teachers, is given to the best pre-college-level science and mathematics teachers from across the country. Most recently, in August of 2011, Wellman was selected by the U.S. Department of Education to be a Teaching Ambassador Fellow for the 2011-12 school year. This fellowship was created to give outstanding teachers an opportunity to learn about national policy issues in education and to contribute their expertise to those discussions. Fellows share what they've learned with other teachers, contributing to a larger understanding of federal initiatives and encouraging broader input into policy and programs designed to improve education at all levels of government.

Wellman received a bachelor of science degree with an emphasis in chemistry from Penn State in 1991. In 1993, he received his joint education specialist master's degree from the University of Rochester in conjunction with the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at the Rochester Institute of Technology, and he earned certification from the state of New York for general and deaf education in chemistry, physics and general science.


  • David Dunson, Susan Gardlik, Albert 'Fred' Hartman, Allan Silberman and Bruce Wellman

    IMAGE: Photos provided
Last Updated October 06, 2011