June 07, 2023

Crowder named 2023 Provost’s Awards in Undergraduate Research winner

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Camerron photoshopCamerron M. Crowder, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Neurobiology, has been awarded the 2023 Provost’s Awards for Faculty Excellence in Undergraduate Research.

As assistant director of the UAB Precision Medicine Institute (PMI) and assistant professor in the Department of Neurobiology, Crowder's research revolves around investigating rare neurodevelopmental disorders that impact pediatric patients and lack established cures or standard care protocols.

Crowder develops research-based curricula for courses in the Undergraduate Neurosciences Program. These courses, such as Introduction to Neuro Methods, employ patient cases to facilitate the development of hypotheses concerning pathophysiological disease mechanisms and allows students to assist in gene editing to engineer zebrafish models of the patient’s rare diseases.

She also teaches courses like Senior Seminar in Neuroscience, where students write their undergraduate thesis, and Colloquium in Basic, Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience, which allows students to learn in-depth about ongoing research on neuroplasticity and neurogenetics at UAB.

Within her research lab, Crowder acts as a mentor for students investigating rare neurodevelopment disorders, particularly those involving patients in PMI's consultation program. The lab's primary objectives include the development of zebrafish models for the patients' diseases and the identification of therapeutic options using artificial intelligence that can be screened in these models. Working alongside Crowder in the lab, students can complete their SciTech honors or Undergraduate Neuroscience Program thesis work, building upon the research they initiated in the classroom.

At PMI, Crowder provides guidance to students studying rare disease cases and utilizing artificial intelligence to pinpoint potential drug candidates. Furthermore, she encourages students to collaborate with patient physicians by writing comprehensive reports. Students also have the option to earn research credits by working with PMI, enabling them to concentrate on investigating an individual rare disease.

“The key to my work's success lies in my ability to engage students in research that benefits patients both in the classroom and laboratory,” said Crowder. “I make dedicated efforts to integrate my teaching and research, offering students hands-on, active learning experiences in the classroom. This approach allows them to personally engage in meaningful research and experience the thrill of scientific exploration.”

Read about all of the 2023 Provost's Awards for Faculty Excellence honorees.