Fellow Award 2022

The SIVB Distinguished Scientist Award recognizes outstanding mid-career scientists who have made significant contributions to the field of in vitro biology and/or in the development of novel technologies that have advanced in vitro biology.  The Society for In Vitro Biology honored Dr. Terry Riss as the recipient of the Distinguished Scientist Award at the 2023 In Vitro Biology Meeting.


2023 SIVB Distinguished Scientist Award

Dr. Maria M. Jenderek

Dr. Terry Riss received the 2023 Distinguished Scientist Award from the SIVB, In Vitro Animal Cell Sciences Section (IVACS), for his outstanding work developing molecular probes to measure cell function and viability. These tools provide the basis for the endpoint measures used in many of the cell and tissue-based bioassays which support research and the emerging field of in vitro New Approach Methodologies in regulatory toxicology.

Dr. Riss has been a member of the SIVB since 1986. During that time, it has been our pleasure to follow his work through his publications and numerous scientific presentations to the SIVB and other societies. His documented scientific achievements have contributed greatly to the whole field of in vitro cell and tissue biological research.

Dr. Riss completed his Bachelors and Masters Degrees at Illinois State University in 1975 and 1978, respectively. He took his Ph.D. training at the University of Illinois (Urbana) with a focus on the purification and quantification of calmodulin in rat mammary tissue during pregnancy and lactation. He completed is degree in 1984. He moved to the University of Texas to pursue a postdoctoral research fellowship (1984-1988) with a focus on mammary/breast cancer cell biology. During this time, he worked on cell proliferation assays, purification of growth factors and production of specific antibodies that were used for Western blot, ELISA and radioreceptor assays necessary for the project. In 1988, he joined Schering-Plough Research as a research scientist in the Biotechnology Cell Biology group. Here, he supervised bioassay development for IL-4 (IND submission) as well as the associated ELISA and high-throughput radioreceptor programs. In 1990, he joined Promega Corporation to oversee and then direct all in vitro cell health assay development programs. Under his leadership, the range of cell viability, cell function and gene expression probes for which Promega is well known, were and continue to be developed. He is now the Global Strategic Manager for Cell Health at Promega.

Terry is acknowledged as one of the world experts in the development and application of chemical probes for cell viability, cell function (i.e., mitochondrial function and ATP generation) and gene expression (i.e., ARE-Nrf2 Luciferase Test Method). His work has been instrumental in the application of high-throughput assay development for pharmaceutical development. His work has been essential to the progress of many in vitro cell and tissue-based programs. SIVB members can speak from firsthand experience as to the importance of the technologies that he has developed and to his guidance to their proper application. For example, the Translational Tissue Modeling Laboratory (University of Michigan) was able to replace an assay system to move to his above-mentioned luciferase reporter detection system (One-Glo Assay), engaging his team’s expertise as to its best application.

Dr. Riss has 50 published manuscripts (seven in In Vitro Cell & Dev Bio – Animal) and 7 patents. Most recently, he contributed “Factors to Consider When Interrogating 3D Culture Models with Plate Readers or Automatic Microscopes” as part of the SIVB invited review series on 3D cultures (In Vitro Cell & Dev Bio – Animal 57(2) 2021). His on-going work as co-author and associate editor of the NIH hosted The Assay Guidance Manual (AGM) has provided his insights to researchers across the world (2013 to present). One of his most notable first author AGM contributions is “Cell Viability Assays”, which to date has been cited 1840 times.

One component of a successful scientist’s career is servicethose actions that give back to the scientific community through volunteer work and service to scientific societies. Terry is a tireless teacher and we both have had the privilege to hear him speak at various meetings. Of particular importance is that his message is not commercial for Promega products but is quite strictly focused on the science and proper application of the technologies that he and his colleagues have developed, as well as providing an always invaluable comprehensive understanding of the topic. Those who attended his most recent symposium presentation at our 2022 annual meeting in San Diego would concur. His efforts are a tremendous service to the field of in vitro biology. It is truly hard to know how many research programs he has helped and researchers he has mentored.

Submitted by Michael K. Dame and John W. Harbell

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