June 18, 2010

Associate Professor of Biological and Agricultural Engineering (BAE) Todd Monroe has received the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Distinguished Mentor award for 2010-2012. The distinguished mentor award is based on demonstrated excellence in undergraduate mentoring associated with research in the life sciences.

Monroe, a member of the Center for Biomodular Multi-Scale Systems, focuses on the application of bioengineering principles at the molecular and cellular level. His National Science Foundation, or NSF, CAREER Award "Photoactivatable Nucleic Acids for Control of Molecular and Cellular Processes" incorporates an educational component for introducing new topics to the classroom and emphasizes the importance of undergraduate research and outreach. He has mentored 30 undergraduate researchers during the past five year, and has seven peer-reviewed scientific papers written with undergraduate co-authors.

"This award speaks more to our talented and enthusiastic Biological Engineering students rather than their mentor," said Monroe. "We are fortunate to have such students join our group, train well and contribute to our innovation and engagement missions, and then continue on to garner prestigious positions in the top postgraduate schools and companies across the country. As an LSU Engineer myself, I hope that these students one day also "close the loop" by returning home to help us improve lives and transform Louisiana and the world."

Monroe's research program is funded by awards from the NSF, the National Institutes of Health and the Louisiana Board of Regents. He has mentored under-represented students in programs such as the Ronald McNair Minority Research, Initiatives for Minority Student Development, LSU's HHMI program and the Louisiana Alliance for Minority Participation programs. The training regimen for undergraduates in his research group has a focus on ethical responsibilities, safety and learning hands-on skills for laboratory assays. In addition, he strives to have student researchers develop skills both in technical writing and writing for a broader audience. Monroe enjoys the challenge of motivating students, establishing a personal teaching goal of "closing the gap between strong and weaker student performance."

HHMI distinguished mentor awards are given in university-wide competitions in which tenured and tenure-track faculty from the University of Florida, LSU and Morehouse College are eligible. The HHMI distinguished mentor awards award acknowledges faculty engagement with outstanding undergraduates in life sciences.

 

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Article excerpted from LSU Media Relations, Ashley Berthelot, 225-578-3870, aberth4@lsu.edu

 

 

 



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