Cengiz receives academic staff excellence awards 

Pelin Cengiz, MD
Pelin Cengiz, MD

Each year, UW–Madison honors nine academic staff members for their achievements and dedication to excellence. Pelin Cengiz, MD, an associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics and a Waisman Center investigator, is among this year’s recipients. She received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research: Independent Investigator.

In her groundbreaking research, Pelin Cengiz studies hypoxic-ischemic brain injury, one of the leading causes of illness and death in children and an area with a paucity of effective treatments. Specifically, she looks at the sex differences in developmental brain injuries of the very young.

Cengiz’s scientific inquiries are informed and motivated by her experiences caring for critically ill children, while her innovative research program addresses one of the most important and understudied areas of children’s health. She is, her colleagues say, the model for what a clinician-scientist should be.

Cengiz’s pioneering work has opened up an entirely new line of research in pediatric discovery, making her an internationally known expert in the field. Her research has been published in high-impact journals, presented at numerous international meetings, and honored with major awards.

Beyond her novel research, Cengiz has demonstrated exceptional leadership and team-building skills, bringing together a multidisciplinary team of investigators to conduct her project, and lending her expertise to numerous studies by other investigators. Her commitment to mentoring the next generation of physicians and scientists, with a particular focus on addressing issues of equity in sex, gender and socioeconomics, is especially inspiring.

Always one to go above and beyond, she stepped up during the pandemic to lead the children’s hospital workgroup on developing guidelines for the treatment of acute COVID-19 in children.