MSU College of Natural Science honors 2018 Alumni Award winners

  • Apr 23, 2018
  • event, alumni, Faculty, Students, Award
  • Homepage News, Alumni, Faculty & Staff, Research, Students, College of Natural Science, Human Medicine, Mathematics, Microbiology, Neuroscience, Physiology

Image of 2018 NatSci Alumni Awards recipients Karl Olson, Ashley Kaatz (accepting for Paul Thomas), and Craig Roy

NatSci's 2018 Alumni Award recipients are (L to R): Karl Olson, associate professor of physiology, Meritorious Faculty Award; Ashley Kaatz accepting the Recent Alumni Award for Paul Thomas, M.D. (B.S., human biology, '09); and Craig Roy, Ph.D. (B.S., microbiology, '85), Outstanding Alumni Award. Photo by Harley Seeley.

More than 100 individuals attended the Michigan State University College of Natural Science (NatSci) annual Awards Program to acknowledge alumni, faculty and students for outstanding achievements and excellence. The event was held April 20, 2018, at MSU’s University Club.

Craig Roy, Ph.D. (B.S., microbiology, ’85) received the Outstanding Alumni Award; Paul Thomas, M.D. (B.S., human biology, ’09) received the Recent Alumni Award; and L. Karl Olson, Ph.D., associate professor of physiology, received the Meritorious Faculty Award.

Roy, a professor and vice chair of the Department of Microbial Pathogenesis at Yale University, is recognized around the world for his work in investigating the mechanisms by which bacterial pathogens alter key host functions to cause disease. His studies focus on Legionnaire’s disease and Q fever. His research has contributed to a much clearer understanding of how pathogens work, and has also illuminated basic cellular processes within host cells. Roy’s work is supported by multiple, competitively funded National Institutes of Health research grants, including a coveted MERIT renewal award. In 2007, he was awarded the Eli Lilly and Company Award, the most prestigious recognition made each year to a single researcher by the American Society for Microbiology. He has trained dozens of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who are now carrying out research in prestigious institutions around the world. He also gives back to his field through service as an editor for a number of journals, and as an organizer of meetings and conferences.

Dr. Thomas is a direct primary care physician who serves patients through his private practice—Plum Health DPC in Detroit, Mich. His philosophy is to deliver high-quality service to his patients while giving back to the community. His practice is based on the direct primary care (DPC) model—which provides a full range of comprehensive primary services to patients in exchange for a flat fee that is typically billed monthly. Outside of seeing patients and managing their medical needs, Dr. Thomas is active in the community and at Wayne State University medical school, where he is a clinical assistant professor. One of his passions is to help other physicians transition into the DPC model of care. He is also a board member for Rock CF, an organization that raises awareness for cystic fibrosis and empowers those with the disease to live a more happy and healthy life.

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 on lipid and glucose metabolism in β cells has further led to funding from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. His work has also led to a number of funded collaborations in the areas of natural products, breast cancer and brain cancer. He 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. He is also committed to public service at MSU, and at the state and national levels.

In addition to these honors, several NatSci graduate and undergraduate students were recognized for their outstanding contributions this past year.

Oyemolade Osibodu and Visala Rani Satyam, both in MSU’s Program in Mathematics Education (PRIME), received Tracy A. Hammer Graduate Student Awards, which are given to outstanding graduate students in support of their professional development.

Four students received the Dan Bolin Undergraduate Student Award, which is presented to outstanding juniors in the College of Natural Science in recognition of their leadership qualities, community service and academic abilities. The 2018 recipients are: Jessica Declercq, human biology; Collin Brooks, neuroscience; Caleb Sokolowski, human biology; and Ryan Griffin, physiology.

Dean’s Research Scholars (DRS) and Beckman Scholars—both incoming and outgoing—were also acknowledged. These scholarship programs provide undergraduate students with the opportunity to participate in research—which is critical to students’ future success.


Banner image: Craig Roy, NatSci's 2018 Outstanding Alumni Award recipient (right), talks with NatSci Dean's Research Scholar Matthew Welch and his mother, Mary Manuel, following the awards program. Photo by Harley Seeley.

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