Dr. Diane Pennica (third from right) is joined by (from left) Betty Gossett, interim executive director of the Fredonia College Foundation; Brian Straight, brother-in-law; Christine Straight, sister; Nicholas Quintyne, assistant professor of biology; Frank Pennica, Dr. Pennica's father; Patricia Astry, associate professor of biology and chair of the Department of Biology; Charles Buckner, Dr. Pennica's fiancé; and Fredonia President Virginia Horvath, at the dedication of the Pennica Research Lab in the new Science Center.
Learning Spaces

Fredonia success story: Diane Pennica

Dr. Diane Pennica, who pioneered the widespread use of t-PA, the clot-busting drug administered to treat victims of heart attacks and strokes, is helping to advance faculty research at the Fredonia Science Center.

The 1973 graduate established the Dr. Diane Pennica Biology Faculty Research Award in July and returned to campus in September to join family members, friends, Department of Biology faculty, students and President Virginia Horvath for the dedication of the Pennica Research Lab, named in honor of Diane’s parents, Mamie and Frank Pennica.

The second-floor space (Room 225) serves as the research lab of Dr. Nicholas Quintyne, who studies the dynamics of microtubule and microtubule associated protein regulation throughout the cell cycle. Dr. Quintyne mentors Molecular Genetics and Biology students in lower level, upper level and capstone research projects. 

Diane, who has a doctorate in microbiology from the University of Rhode Island, dedicated her career to research and drug development and spent 30 years with Genentech, a leader in the biotechnology industry. She discovered and cloned the gene for t-PA, the body’s natural clot dissolving substance, so it could be produced in large quantities (under the name Activase).

She has received the Fredonia Alumni Association's Outstanding Achievement Award in 1986, was Fredonia's Commencement keynote speaker in 1988, was the keynote speaker at the SUNY Undergraduate Research Conference West that Fredonia hosted in 2017 and has been the recipient of many national awards. Articles written by Diane have appeared in 100 publications, and she has been issued 41 patents.

The endowment that Diane created through the Fredonia College Foundation will provide an annual award to support research by a faculty member in the Department of Biology. The first award will be made in 2018.