URI’s De Groot and Spero honored by R.I. Women in Higher Education

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PROVIDENCE, RI – May 10, 2012 — Annie De Groot and Denice Spero, co-directors of the University of Rhode Island’s Institute for Immunology and Informatics, have been honored for their contributions to higher education by the Association of Rhode Island Women in Higher Education.

The women were each presented with a certificate of honor during an April 27 ceremony as part of the association’s ninth annual spring conference, held this year on the campus of Salve Regina University. The event focused on leadership.

De Groot and Spero work together at the Institute, also known as iCubed, to apply immunoinformatics tools to vaccine design. They were recognized for their influential roles in education and research. iCubed focuses on creating newer and safer vaccines to help accelerate the development of treatments and cures for a number of diseases.

The awards were presented by RIWHE President Debra Cohen. “It was an honor and a pleasure to recognize Dr. Annie De Groot and Dr. Denice Spero for their outstanding contributions to the field of higher education,” Cohen said. “After listening to their personal and professional stories as a woman in the field of higher education, it gives me great comfort to know hard work and dedication can be that rewarding.”

De Groot and Spero addressed the conference on how each utilizes their roles as educators and scientists. Spero discussed leveraging diversity to advance scientific research in the areas of multiple sclerosis and vaccine design. De Groot spoke of her time helping those without healthcare in the Providence area as well as her vaccine work in the African country of Mali. De Groot also touched on her support of building a greater research program in Providence’s burgeoning Knowledge District and the University’s plan to establish a new nursing facility there.

RIWHE was formed in 2003 and is one of over 50 state networks supported by the American Council on Education’s Office of Women in Higher Education, whose mission is to focus on the advancement of women leaders in higher education.