The Baltimore Sun has honored Mike Summers as the “Best Academic” in the region for 2017. Summers, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Robert E. Meyerhoff Chair for Excellence in Research and Mentoring, is internationally known for his HIV research. By increasing understanding of the virus’ structure, members of Summers’ lab hope to discover novel ways of inhibiting its activity. Summers was inducted into the National Academy of Sciences on April 29, after being elected last year. Membership in the NAS is one of the highest honors a scientist can receive.
“For the Academy to recognize someone who tries to do quality research, but does it in an environment that is inclusive and involves undergraduates makes it so much more special to me,” said Summers.
Summers is deeply committed to supporting students from all backgrounds. One of Summers’ mentees, Heather Frank ‘17, biochemistry and molecular biology, is featured as an exemplar of the UMBC Class of 2017. “The amazing mentorship I have received at UMBC has brought me the courage and confidence I needed to apply to competitive graduate programs and pursue my Ph.D.,” Frank says. “The environment here provided me all the opportunities so I could become my best self.” Frank will pursue a Ph.D. in biochemistry at Harvard.
“Being at UMBC opened my eyes not only to existing disparities in science research and education, but also to possibilities for effecting change,” Summers reflects. “The satisfaction that goes with helping our students achieve their dreams, and showing colleagues elsewhere new ways that they can approach and support their own students, is a reward without measure.”
Image: Mike Summers (center) with UMBC students. Photo by Marlayna Demond ’11 for UMBC.