Written by Hannah Buckelew

39139scr_2ffe575957cd264.jpgEason Hildreth, D.V.M., Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Division of Molecular and Cellular Pathology, was recently awarded the 2022 Graduate Biomedical Sciences (GBS) Teaching Award at the Graduate Student Research Day event held Friday, August 12. The award recognizes a course director or lecturer who has demonstrated exceptional accomplishments in teaching and is nominated and voted upon by GBS Ph.D. students.

Dr. Hildreth joined UAB in July 2019 from the Medical University of South Carolina and has since shown his dedication to the field and the Department. In 2021, he received a two-year Early Career Investigator grant from METAvivor Research and Support for his research on breast cancer and was also named a UAB Heersink Pittman Scholar. The work he is perhaps most proud of, however, is that of educating the next generation of pathologists and scientists.

“The ‘ah-ha’ moment is what I enjoy about teaching,” Hildreth says. “A trainee or student grasping a topic, idea, or technique is a special moment, and one that will likely have a lasting impact.”

While Hildreth has given several lectures on development and cancer, the bulk of his recent teaching has been in Introduction to Pathobiology, a course he co-directs with Yabing Chen, Ph.D., Jay M. McDonald Endowed Chair in Laboratory Medicine, and Vice Chair, Faculty Development and Education. He also leads the Cancer Biology theme breakout session for the first-year course Basic Biological Organization, a cell biology course. The Cancer Biology theme is led by Lalita Shevde-Samant, Ph.D., and Sooryanarayana Varambally, Ph.D., professors in Molecular and Cellular Pathology.

Hildreth delivers lectures on inflammation, wound healing, and bone as tissue in Introduction to Pathobiology and maintains involvement in clinical case discussions. His Cell Biology sessions allow first-year doctoral students to experience theme-specific content. He teaches scientific methods by reviewing recent articles and how these methods are used to perform cancer research in the real world.

Hildreth is fine-tuning courses for 2023 and booking larger classrooms for growing student enrollment in these courses. He would like to thank Drs. Chen, Peter Anderson, D.V.M., Ph.D., Professor, Molecular and Cellular Pathology, Shevde-Samant, and Varambally for the teaching and co-directorship opportunities that paved the way for his GBS Teaching Award nomination.

“Teaching is my chance to contribute to the trees of knowledge in these students’ career journeys. I may not be able to sit under the shade of those trees, but I can plant a seed or add another leaf. That’s what I’m most thankful for.”