Meritorious Faculty Award

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The Meritorious Faculty Award is presented to a faculty member who has demonstrated excellence in the areas of teaching and research. Nominees must have an appointment (full or partial) in the College of Natural Science. Recipients exemplify MSU’s commitment to the land-grant mission of teaching, research and outreach through their dedication to professional, community and/or MSU service. The award includes a one-time stipend of $1000.

Anyone may submit a nomination.

The award is presented at the annual alumni awards held in conjunction with Classes Without Quizzes.

Nominations not selected to receive the award are held for three years and automatically re-nominated each year.

Questions? Please contact Sara Ford via email or (517) 884-0290.

2018 Meritorious Faculty Award

L. Karl Olson, Ph.D.
Department of Physiology

Whether it be through his contributions to diabetes research, his impact on students through his teaching and mentoring, or his public service through professional organizations, Karl Olson is an excellent faculty member very deserving of recognition.
Olson maintains a successful research program studying the regulation of pancreatic β-cell growth, differentiation and physiology in order to develop therapeutic targets for the prevention and treatment
of type 2 diabetes. His research has demonstrated that enhanced lipogenesis and neutral lipid storage function to protect β cells from excess glucose and free fatty acids. This research has led to other biochemical pathways that can protect β cells from dysfunction and cell death, and may serve as therapeutic targets to treat type 2 diabetes. His research on lipid and glucose metabolism in β cells has further led to funding from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation to identify novel lipid biomarkers indicative of early stages of β cell autoimmunity in a type 1 diabetic rodent model and in human subjects with new onset or longer duration of type 1 diabetes. His work has also led to a
number of funded collaborations in the areas of natural products, breast cancer and brain cancer.
Since his arrival at MSU in 1995, Olson has been involved with teaching students at all levels—from undergraduate, to graduate to professional—both in the classroom and in his laboratory. His underlying philosophy behind teaching is to develop critically thinking individuals who are scientifically literate. In 2016, he was recognized with the College of Natural Science Undergraduate
Teaching Award.
Olson is committed to public service at MSU at the department, college and university levels. At the state level, he serves on the Michigan Board of Nursing, with goals of serving in the public interest, and strengthening the interactions of the Department of Physiology with MSU’s College of Nursing. At
the national level, Olson reviews for numerous scientific journals, serves as a reviewer for multiple national granting agencies and is a member of several professional societies.

Past Recipients

  • 1980 – Charles Sweeley, Biochemistry
  • 1981 – Leo Mericle, Botany & Plant Pathology
  • 1982 – Kyung Whan Kwun, Mathematics
  • 1983 – John Lockwood, Botany & Plant Pathology
  • 1984 – Fumio Matsumura, Pesticide Research Center
  • 1985 – Marvin Hensley, Zoology
  • 1986 – Alexander Tulinsky, Chemistry
  • 1987 – Everett Beneke, Botany & Plant Pathology
  • 1988 – Clarence Suelter, Biochemistry
  • 1989 – John Beaman, Botany & Plant Pathology
  • 1990 – Jerry Dodgson, Biochemistry
  • 1991 – James Hamilton, Chemistry
  • 1992 – Pamela Fraker, Biochemistry
  • 1993 – Howard Hagerman, Lyman Briggs School
  • 1994 – Hans Kende, Botany & Plant Pathology
  • 1995 – Emanuel Hackel, Zoology
  • 1996 – Jack Preiss, Biochemistry
  • 1997 – Glenda Lappan, Mathematics
  • 1998 – John E. Wilson, Biochemistry
  • 1999 – Julius Kovacs, Physics & Astronomy
  • 2000 – Robert Hausinger, Biochemistry/Microbiology
  • 2001 – Jerry Babcock, Chemistry
  • 2002 – Loren Snyder, Microbiology & Molecular Genetics
  • 2003 – Susan Conrad, Microbiology & Molecular Genetics
  • 2004 – Edwin Kashy, Physics & Astronomy
  • 2005 – G.J. (Mike) Karabatsos, Chemistry
  • 2006 – Jack Bass, Physics & Astronomy, George Bird, Entomology
  • 2007 – Ralph Taggart , Plant Biology & Geological Sciences
  • 2008 – Aureal Cross , Geological Sciences & Plant Biology
  • 2009 – James Stapleton, Statistics & Probability
  • 2010 – Julie Libarkin, Geological Sciences
  • 2011 – C. Robin Buell, Plant Biology
  • 2012 – Gary Westfall, Physics & Astronomy
  • 2013 – Robert Maleczka, Chemistry
  • 2014 - Steven Heidemann, Physiology
  • 2015 - Babak Borhan, Chemistry
  • 2016 - Edward Walker, Microbiology & Molecular Genetics and Entomology
  • 2017 - Richard Hill, Integrative Biology