Sarah Ades named 2017 Penn State Teaching Fellow

April 28, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Sarah Ades, associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Penn State, has been named a 2017 Penn State Teaching Fellow, the Penn State Alumni Association Award for Excellence in Teaching. The award was established by the Alumni Association, in conjunction with the undergraduate and graduate student governing bodies, in 1988 to honor distinguished teaching and to encourage teaching excellence.

Ades was recognized for her unique inquiry-based approach to teaching. She restructured her classes to reflect a scientific community where students work collaboratively and share results to address scientific problems.

“Science is best learned by engaging in the scientific process, whether that is analyzing problems in the classroom or designing experiments in the lab,” said Ades. “My role as a teacher is similar to that of a coach. I guide students in learning new skills and concepts, design materials to help them practice these skills, and challenge them to apply these skills to new situations.”

Research in the Ades laboratory focuses on understanding how information about changes in the environment, such as the presence of antibiotics, is transmitted from the outer cell compartment of a bacterial cell to components within the cell so that the bacteria can respond to these changes. She has developed methods to identify small molecules that can interrupt the cellular-signaling pathways that transmit this information. These molecules will be important compounds for the development of new kinds of antibiotics and can be used as tools for basic research.

In 2015, Ades was awarded the C.I. Noll Award for Excellence in Teaching by the Eberly College of Science Alumni Society for her collaboration with Kenneth Keiler, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Penn State. They transformed two undergraduate courses that encourage students to ask scientific questions and to design and perform experiments to answer these questions. A paper about this transformation was published in the journal PLoS Biology in 2017.

In 2013, Ades was a winner of the GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK) Discovery Fast Track Challenge, a competition designed to accelerate the translation of academic research into novel medical therapies. Her research has been published in journals such as Molecular Microbiology, the Journal of Bacteriology, and PLoS One.

Ades earned a doctoral degree in biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1995 and a bachelor's degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry at Yale University in 1988. Prior to joining the Penn State faculty in June of 2002, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California at San Francisco from 1997 to 2002 and at the Institut de Biologie Molecularie et Cellulaire in Strasbourg, France, from 1995 to 1997.

  • Sarah Ades

    Sarah Ades, associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Penn State, has been named a 2017 Penn State Teaching Fellow.

    IMAGE: Penn State

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated April 28, 2017