The University of Arizona


  Printable Version
Birth Date: 1956
Birth Place: Cleveland, Ohio

Honored By

Donor names:   Dennis Ray
Date submitted: October 24, 2006
Location on plaza map: C6
Areas of Achievement: Health/Medicine, Science
Facets of Margaret (Peggi) Marie Briehl’s life include being an advocate, aunt, cancer researcher, college professor, daughter, friend, gardener, grandmother, mentor, mother, sister, international traveler and wife. Born November 25, 1956 in Cleveland, Ohio, she was the fourth child in a family that would eventually grow to eleven children. Her parents were Margaret Josephine Fitz Briehl and Martin Joseph Briehl. They named this daughter after her mother and maternal grandmother and called her by the nickname, ‘Peggi’. Once in college, Peggi began using her birth name. Family and friends through high school call her ‘Peggi’, while those who met her later in life call her ‘Margaret’.

From the time she was a child, Peggi loved learning. Her mother and father had earned college degrees in chemistry and engineering, respectively. They believed strongly in education and encouraged their daughter’s inquisitive mind and avid love of reading. Peggi first remembers getting ‘hooked on science’ in 8th grade, looking through a microscope at pond water. Seeing a universe of exotic creatures she never knew existed was indescribably stimulating. Her interest in science later narrowed down to cancer research.

Most of Margaret’s training for a career in cancer research took place at the University of Arizona. She received a B.S. degree in Microbiology in 1981 and a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology in 1988. She then conducted postdoctoral studies with research teams at the Arizona Cancer Center. As part of her training, she also spent six months as a graduate student and one year as a postdoc working in research laboratories in Lausanne, Switzerland.

In 1994, Margaret ‘graduated’ to a faculty appointment in the Department of Pathology in the University of Arizona’s College of Medicine. She obtained grant funding to develop and lead a research laboratory focused on discovering how ‘incurable’ cancer cells avoid being killed by anticancer drugs. Margaret’s teaching accomplishments include developing a Pathology course for graduate students in the biomedical sciences. She also developed a seminar series for Cancer Biology graduate students to present their research results.

During her training to become a cancer researcher, Margaret was struck by the relative lack of female role models in science. In response, she became an active member of various advocacy groups for women faculty, including the Association for Women Faculty, the Commission on the Status of Women and the Women’s Studies Advisory Council. At the national level, she helped organize a ‘Women in Science’ group within her major professional organization, the Society for Free Radical Biology & Medicine.

Margaret found a best friend and soul mate when she met Dennis T. Ray at the University of Arizona. After a two year courtship, they married on December 30, 1983. Dennis was a faculty member in the Department of Plant Sciences and would eventually become a University Distinguished Professor. They have two children, Michaelson Anthony Britt and Danielle Michelle Carroll, and a granddaughter, Mackenzie Lauren Carroll. In her free time, Margaret enjoys reading biographies, gardening, traveling and spending time with family and friends. Thanks to Dennis, she has become a baseball fan, has seen all 30 major league teams play a game in their home park (Go Cubs!) and has been inducted into the Hall of Fame as a fan.

Information Sources:
Margaret Briehl