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Husband honors ֱ̲ toxicology professor through scholarship

Published June 4, 2024

Meyer

CAPTION: (L-R): Dean of the ֱ̲ College of Pharmacy Dr. Glenn Anderson, Dr. Robert Meyer, scholarship recipient Cara Juneau, ֱ̲ President Dr. Ron Berry


MONROE, LA – Dr. Robert Meyer, widowed husband of ֱ̲’s Dr. Sharon Meyer, donated $25,000 to establish the Sharon Meyer Dufilho Society Endowed Scholarship in Toxicology. A check presentation was held at the ֱ̲ College of Pharmacy on June 3, 2024.

“ֱ̲ is where Sharon got a chance to be an academician and researcher. We knew we had to set up a memorial in her name, seeing as this is where she made her career,” said husband, Robert Meyer. Sharon impacted the lives of students, faculty, and her community of toxicology colleagues across the nation.

Sharon was raised on a farm in Panora, Iowa, often attempting to make chemicals with items purchased from her local family. After receiving her undergraduate and master’s degrees at Iowa State University, she went on to complete a Ph.D. in Physiology at Cornell University and two postdoctoral fellowships, one at Harvard Medical School and one at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.


Her career led her to ֱ̲ in 2000, where she was recognized as a Fellow of the Academy of Toxicological Sciences, honored with an endowed professorship from the University of Louisiana System Foundation and Willis-Knighton Health Systems, and was awarded the Excellence in Teaching Award from the National Society of Leadership and Success.

She retired from ֱ̲ in January 2023. Prior to retirement, she was studying the risks of exposure to complex chemical mixtures and deciphering their toxicologically “active” agents using multivariate statistics. As an 8-year breast cancer survivor and undergoing treatment for metastatic uterine cancer, a personal research interest for her was examining the dietary supplement Echinacea as a means to boost the production of white blood cells when bone marrow has been compromised, such as during chemotherapy. She passed away in July 2023.

Dr. Sindhura Ramasahayam, one of Sharon’s graduate students, shared “Her endless support and encouragement have made many of us succeed in our Ph.D. and her passion and dedication towards research has shaped many students towards high expectations and achievements. I truly appreciate her for her valuable and tireless guidance. She left behind a legacy in the field of toxicology.”

Robert and the 2024-2025 recipient, Cara Juneau, met at the event for the first time. Cara is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in toxicology.

The endowed status of the scholarship will live on in perpetuity to ensure financial support for future toxicology students. Robert is hopeful that this scholarship will evolve into a Superior Graduate Scholarship, totaling $60,000, and be awarded to Ph.D. students pursuing toxicology.