February 2012

ASBMB Award for Exemplary Contributions to Education

Husband-and-wife team has achieved ‘superstar status’


Donald and Judy Voet


About the award

The ASBMB Award for Exemplary Contributions to Education is given annually to a scientist who encourages effective teaching and learning of biochemistry and molecular biology through his or her own teaching, leadership in education, writing, educational research, mentoring or public enlightenment. The award consists of a cash prize of $3,000, and each winner presents a plenary symposium lecture at the society’s annual meeting.

The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology has named Donald Voet, emeritus professor of chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania, and Judith Voet, emeritus professor of chemistry at Swarthmore College, the winners of the society’s award for exemplary contributions to education.

The Voets are perhaps most well known for their seminal textbook “Biochemistry,” a staple of campus bookstores and classrooms for more than 20 years. Since 2000, they also have edited “Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education,” an educational journal published by the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and have expanded the journal’s coverage and raised its profile.

“We have spent much of our careers doing what we love: helping students develop the tools they need to further their careers in the biomedical sciences and fostering a biochemistry community dedicated to student learning,” said Judith Voet on behalf of herself and her husband. “We could not have done so without the help and support of numerous colleagues. We greatly appreciate the recognition we have received from the ASBMB for these educational activities.”

In addition to their publication duties, the Voets are highly sought-after speakers, appearing at seminars and education conferences worldwide, and have served on education committees for numerous organizations. In the words of Manuel João Costa, professor at the University of Minho in Portugal, the Voets are “the most influential contemporary personalities in biochemistry and molecular biology education.”

University of Delaware professor Hal White agreed: “Clearly, the Voets have achieved superstar status in the world of biochemistry.”

Judy Voet received her Ph.D. in biochemistry from Brandeis University in 1969 and spent several years as a research associate in the greater Philadelphia area before joining the chemistry department at Swarthmore in 1978. Don Voet received his Ph.D. in chemistry from Harvard University in 1966 before completing a three-year postdoctoral fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has been in the chemistry department at Penn since 1969.

The Voets will receive their award during the Experimental Biology 2012 conference in San Diego, where they will deliver an award lecture. The presentation will take place at 12:30 p.m. April 22 in the San Diego Convention Center.

Geoff HuntGeoff Hunt (ghunt@asbmb.org) is ASBMB's public outreach coordinator.

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