Earlier this week, the Office of the Vice President for Research & Economic Development presented the annual Discovery & Innovation Awards to this year’s winners. Two members of Dr. Dale Abel’s lab were honored.
Nominated by the undergraduates he educates, Antentor O. “AJ” Hinton Jr., PhD, received a Distinguished Mentor Award. Dr. Hinton is a Postdoctoral Research Scholar and member of the Abboud Cardiovascular Research Center and the Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center. Dr. Abel had the following to say about Dr. Hinton’s win:
“The Abel lab welcomes many undergraduates and pairs them with post-docs, graduate students, and junior faculty. AJ is passionate about undergraduate education and is a mentor at heart. He embraces the opportunity to work with undergraduates in the laboratory. He tailor-makes a curriculum for each student’s time in the lab. Not only does he mentor them in experimental techniques, but he invests in their careers. This ensures that the undergraduates that he mentors are well-positioned to compete for undergraduate research awards, stay on track to graduate, and build strong and competitive portfolios for applications to graduate or professional schools. He is very deserving of this award.
Jesse Cochran received one of the Excellence in Undergraduate Research Awards. Mr. Cochran is a third-year student triple-majoring in Biochemistry, Biology, and Chemistry. In his letter of nomination, Dr. Abel describes in detail the work Mr. Cochran has done with research fellow Dr. Yuan Zhang on the mitochondrial pyruvate carrier, among other projects. Mr. Cochran has demonstrated a facility with complicated experimentation procedures and the analysis the research entails. He has submitted an abstract on some of his work to the American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions. Dr. Abel says that of the 100+ undergraduates he has ever worked with only about 10 have ever submitted work to a national meeting. Dr. Abel says of Mr. Cochran:
He offers critical support in animal experiments, such as glucose and insulin tolerance tests, exercise training, and tissue harvest. He is a very quick learner. He asks many questions when first introduced to new concepts. Importantly he not only asks about “what to do” but also “why to do.” Impressively he now conducts most of his experiments independently, after being shown them once. Moreover, [Dr. Zhang and I] have been very impressed by his excellent ability for critical thinking and the strong deep interest in the project. He never feels his job is done when he finishes data collection, but also shows very strong interest in analyzing the data and discussing the interpretations and conclusions. Some of his thoughts are very inspiring with regards to experiment design in the lab.
Congratulations to both Dr. Hinton and Mr. Cochran on their well-deserved awards!
For a full list of this year’s Discovery & Innovation Awards: https://research.uiowa.edu/impact/news/ui-celebrates-excellence-research-scholarship-entrepreneurship