Lisa Gentile, University of Richmond associate professor and chemistry department chair, has won the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology’s Award for Exemplary Contributions to Education.

The award is given annually to a scientist who encourages effective teaching of biochemistry and molecular biology through leadership, writing, educational research, mentoring and outreach.

In announcing the award, ASBMB called Gentile a champion of undergraduate research and pioneer of outreach activities and integrated learning approaches.

Gentile is currently collaborating with colleagues from four other science departments at Richmond to develop and teach a course that replaces separate introductory classes in chemistry, biology, physics, math and computer science. The course is designed for students interested in an interdisciplinary approach to the science curriculum.

Created with a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the new course is characteristic of Gentile’s work to engage students and develop chemistry education.

“Her energy, creativity and passion for curricular reform seem boundless. She seems to develop new courses with ease – all the while still mentoring research students, writing research proposals and submitting manuscripts for publication,” said Carol Parish, fellow chemistry professor at Richmond. “Her students are clearly invested in their projects, and Lisa encourages this intellectual ownership by providing just the right amount of mentoring.”

Gentile previously won an award from the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program at the National Science Foundation. She regularly publishes in both the scientific and educational arenas and has worked with scientific societies like ASBMB to further develop innovative educational approaches. As part of the award, Gentile will give a plenary lecture during ASBMB’s 2010 annual meeting.