Dr. Sulma Mohammed Honored as Purdue Distinguished Woman Scholar

Friday, April 22, 2022

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Sulma smiles as she speaks from a podium in front of the event guests
Dr. Sulma Mohammed addresses guests at the 2022 Distinguished Women Scholars Award Reception where she was recognized as one of six honorees.

The Purdue University Office of the Provost and the Susan Bulkeley Butler Center for Leadership Excellence honored six Purdue alumnae, including Purdue Veterinary Medicine Professor of Cancer Biology Sulma Mohammed, as 2022 Distinguished Women Scholars at a special reception recently. The event on Tuesday, March 29, at the Purdue Memorial Union Anniversary Drawing Room, recognized the women for exceptional leadership and significant contribution to their fields. The six honorees earned graduate degrees from Purdue in the colleges of Agriculture, Engineering, Liberal Arts, Science, and Veterinary Medicine.

Provost Akridge and Sulma hold up her recognition certificate as their joined by Dr. Subramanian
Dr. Sulma Mohammed is recognized as a 2022 Distinguished Women Scholar by Purdue Provost Jay Akridge and Dr. Mangala Subramanian, professor and Butler chair and director of the Susan Bulkeley Butler Center for Leadership Excellence.

At the standing room only reception, Purdue Provost Jay Akridge introduced each of the honorees who then had an opportunity to speak about their careers and areas of research. Dr. Mohammed earned her Purdue PhD in microbiology in 1991. In addition to her role as a faculty member in the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Department of Comparative Pathobiology, Dr. Mohammed is an adjunct professor of microbiology and immunology in the IU School of Medicine. Originally from Sudan, Dr. Mohammed earned her DVM degree in 1977 from Khartoum University and her master’s degree in 1982 from Cornell University. 

Provost Akridge praised Dr. Mohammed for her achievements as a leading scientist in three areas of cancer research: mechanisms of cancer dissemination through the lymphatic system; breast cancer model development to study progression and discover strategies for prevention; and disparity in cancer risk and cancer research infrastructure in Africa. He also explained that Dr. Mohammed is a valued member of the Executive Council of the African Organization for Research and Training in Cancer (AORTIC) and has received national and international awards for her research efforts involving breast cancer pathogenesis, early diagnosis, and prevention. 

Dr. Mohammed told the reception guests that she came to Purdue nearly 35 years ago with the intent of staying only three years to do her PhD. She recalled that earning her PhD made a big change in her life, and she expressed appreciation for the many professors who she worked with and who helped her to be who she is today. “All of these people shaped my life and my career to be who I am and encouraged me and empowered me to do whatever I wanted to do.” Explaining how she has focused her research on breast cancer, she described the importance of studying cancer health racial disparity. Her work targets aggressive triple-negative breast cancer that predominantly affects Black women. She said her Purdue PhD has enabled her to pursue this research, which she can take back to her home country as part of the effort to improve cancer detection and treatment.

The Distinguished Women Scholars are joined by Provost Akridge for a group photo at the event
Dr. Sulma Mohammed (second from right) and the other five Purdue alumnae named 2022 Distinguished Women Scholars are joined by Provost Jay Akridge at the award reception held March 29.

Writer(s): Kevin Doerr | pvmnews@purdue.edu

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