Robert T. Youker

Present Position

Robert YoukerAssistant Professor of Molecular Biology, Western Carolina University

Chapter Affiliation

Western Carolina University 

Background Information



Every day we are bombarded with information from a wide range of sources, from TV and print journalism to social media websites. This proliferation of information is confusing and can be very misleading, especially given the increasing misinformation. Now more than ever there is a need for clear and transparent communication between scientists/engineers and the public. Sigma Xi is in a unique position to help scientists/engineers to communicate the importance and impact their work has on society. But the mission cannot be fulfilled without well qualified and visionary individuals in leadership roles. I wish to serve on the nominations committee and assist in helping to identify potential future president-elect and treasurer of Sigma Xi. 

 For the past three years, I have been the president of the Western Carolina University (WCU) chapter and I was instrumental in orchestrating the reactivation of our chapter. Our chapter is now in good standing and working to increase our membership. I also started regular science cafes to provide a forum for local researchers to speak with the public about their work. In addition, our chapter has partnered with the WCU honor college to sponsor a yearly keynote speaker for the undergraduate research exposition. In my opinion, these experiences make me qualified to serve on the nominations committee.  If elected, I look forward to working with the other committee members and Sigma Xi members to identify candidate leaders for the organization.   

Sigma Xi and Other Activities (Selected)
2017 Moderator: WCU Graduate Research Symposium – Biology Session
2017 Reviewer: WCU Provost’s Internal Funding Grant Support
2017 External Reviewer: Oncotarget Journal
2016–2017 Volunteer: Science Olympiad – Microbe Mission (Smoky Mountain HS)
2017 Volunteer: NC Science Festival – Novozymes SciMatch (Scott Creek MS)  
2016 Volunteer: NC Science Festival – Novozymes SciMatch (Bethel MS)  
2016 Judge: Sigma Xi Student Research Conference (Atlanta, GA)
2016 “Miniature Microscope Demonstration”, Western Regional Science Fair
2015 ISGP / Sigma Xi Workshop – Communicating Science for Policy, Invited Debater (Durham, NC)
2015–2017 Co-Chair, Organizing Committee: WCU Undergraduate Expo 
2015 Judge: Sigma Xi Student Showcase
2015–2017 Judge: NC Western Regional Science Fair  
2014–pres. President, WCU Sigma Xi Chapter

Professional Memberships
2013–2015 American Heart Association
2012–pres. Biophysical Society
2003–2005, American Society for Cell Biology
1997–pres. Sigma Xi Research Society