Raymond Runyan ’72

2010 Alumni Service Award

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One of the most powerful gifts alumni can give current students is work experience. Ray Runyan ’72 has generously provided that very thing for the past four years, taking Macalester students into his cell biology lab.

Each summer for the last four years, students have traveled to Runyan's University of Arizona lab—where he is a professor of cell biology and anatomy—for full-time, paid research internships. First, they learn about his projects, which focus on the biochemical mechanism of tissue interaction and cellular transformation in the developing embryonic heart. Then they learn techniques such as embryonic chick micro- dissection and molecular biological approaches to studying the regulation of cell development and differentiation in the developing heart.

For undergraduates to see firsthand how a research lab runs and how a career in research can look is a rare and invaluable opportunity. These young people arrive in Arizona as science students and leave as aspiring research scientists. As one alumnus of the program said, "I really owe Ray a lot and I wouldn't miss a chance to show him how much he means to me."

Runyan goes beyond providing the job, also helping students explore the state and securing them housing and transportation. He's even been known to provide the odd kitchen supply to help their transition go more easily. Said one of the students who worked with Runyan last summer, "My experience in Arizona surpassed all my expectations due to the great effort and commitment from Dr. Runyan."