Trinity professor receives national honor

In the history of the Fellows award for the Council of Undergraduate Research (CUR) no school has had two professors win the award.

This year, Mark Brodl, associate vice president for academic affairs and George W. Brackenridge Distinguished Professor of biology, changed that when he became the second professor from Trinity University to receive the honor.

The honor is given to the two professors every year who have built the most nationally recognized and respected research programs involving undergraduate students. Each professor is also awarded a Student Research Fellowship that they can give to one worthy undergraduate student. This award is won by showing an ability to obtain funding for research and by publishing papers with undergraduates as co-authors.

Brodl was incredibly pleased with his selection and is looking forward to the opportunities that this will bring him.

“This is such an honor, and I’m truly humbled to receive this Fellows award. It is something that I had seen others get, and a part of me definitely wanted to one day get it too,” Brodl said. “Now that it has happened, I’m elated. I’ve worked so hard for my research and invested so much time and effort that to see it be recognized like this is so amazing. I have to thank the students that I have worked with because I really wouldn’t have gotten here without them.”

Brodl’s reputation is built on his support of student-faculty research with a focus interdisciplinary research. He has been able to get $5 million from the National Science Foundation in funding for his research, and over the past 25 years has been a research mentor for over 200 students, 37 of whom wrote honors theses.

Brodl has also had 17 students co-author research papers he has written, and more than 45 percent of his students have ended up enrolling in PhD, PhD/MD or MD programs around the nation.

Brodl’s students have high praise for him, regardless of the capacity in which they worked with him. One former student, Jonathan David, is currently attending medical school. When he was an undergraduate student, he did research with Brodl.

“Dr. Brodl was the most helpful professor I have ever worked with,” David said. “Anytime we had trouble with a scientific paper, he would help us work through it in a way where we learned the material ourselves instead of him just telling us the answers. He was committed to our learning and truly comprehending the material that we were working on. His dedication to research and his students was unmatched and really incredible.”

Brodl also still taught a lab class last semester despite the move that he made into administration, and the students in that lab saw many of the same attributes that his research students saw.

“Dr. Brodl was very knowledgeable due to his previous experiences. When it came to writing scientific papers he was very helpful in explaining the best ways to do things because he has reviewed papers in the past,” said first year Amy Grice.

Brodl will receive the honor in June at the 2014 CUR Conference in Washington, D.C.