Photo of Dr. Sharifa Love-Rutledge

Dr. Sharifa Love-Rutledge has been awarded an American Association of University Women fellowship.

Michael Mercier | UAH

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) has awarded Dr. Sharifa Love-Rutledge, an assistant professor of chemistry at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), a part of the University of Alabama System, a one year, $25,000 fellowship to pursue academic work and lead innovative community projects to empower women and girls.

Dr. Love-Rutledge’s research interests are in the areas of biochemistry education, undergraduate research experiences and insulin resistance. She focuses on understanding the effect that proteins like FAT10 have on dysregulating liver metabolism.

“I am interested, and invested, in understanding the factors that underlie metabolic changes that increase susceptibility to obesity and diabetes,” she says. “My current target is a gene that seems to play a role in increasing susceptibility not only to Type 1 diabetes, but also non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.”

Her interest in understanding disease processes includes a commitment to train future biomedical researchers.

“I incorporate my pursuit of these questions within courses – like our general biochemistry lab II, introduction to chemical research lab course, Research or Creative Experience for Undergraduates program and our Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP) – to increase exposure to meritorious research for UAH students and local high school students,” Dr. Love-Rutledge says. “The goal of the grant is to successfully summarize key research findings in a series of peer-reviewed publications.”

As an AAUW fellow, she plans to continue to be an advocate and mentor. Since joining the faculty at UAH, she has given talks to students in the Society of Women Chemists and the Summer Undergraduate Research Experiences in Genomic Medicine program at the HudsonAlpha Center for Genomic Medicine, a National Institutes of Health grant-funded, two-year summer training program for traditionally underrepresented students. She also has advised women pursuing master’s degrees in biology and chemistry, and serves as the campus director for UAH’s Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation.

“I feel strongly about planting and watering seeds within girls and women who need someone to remind them that there is a place for them in science and engineering,” Dr. Love-Rutledge says. “When I was the age of my current mentees, I desired the mentorship of someone with shared identity. So, it is my personal mission to mentor and proactively advocate for equitable access and support for women who are interested in pursuing a career in STEM.”

She says she was ecstatic when she learned of the AAUW fellowship award.

“Early in the spring semester, I received the 2021 Martin Luther King Jr Award from the Minority Graduate Student Association and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion,” Dr. Love-Rutledge says. “Soon after, I found out that I was awarded the UAH Research and Creative Activity Undergraduate mentor award and then finally the AAUW grant.”

Being given these honors affirms that she is valued, she says.

“As a young faculty member, you often get many more noes than yeses, so to receive three big affirmations in a matter of months lets me know that I do have a place in academia,” says Dr. Love-Rutledge. “These awards confirmed that with perseverance, my passion of training future scientists is being realized.”

Founded in 1881, the 170,000-member AAUW empowers women and girls through research, education and advocacy through 1,000 local branches and more than 800 college and university members.



Dr. Sharifa Love-Rutledge

Jim Steele