Countless attempts to satisfy an endless curiosity paid off today for Dr. Eric T. Gillock, assistant professor of biological sciences at Fort Hays State University, when he received a $10,000 Faculty Scholar Award from the Kansas IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence.
"Dr. Gillock is a shining example of the creativity, diligence and overall excellence of the FHSU faculty," said FHSU President Edward H. Hammond, who presented Gillock with a plaque commemorating the award.
"It is people like Dr. Gillock," said Hammond, "who are a major part of making 'affordable success' a promise instead of an empty boast. He started at FHSU in 2001 with minimal facilities and has developed a $95,000 laboratory and attracted the Li-Cor Corporation into donating an $80,000 DNA sequencer."
Hammond quoted the letter written by Dr. Tom Jackson, dean of graduate studies and research, to the K-INBRE: "Dr. Gillock is an innovative researcher and teacher at Fort Hays State University. He was the driving force for the establishment of Fort Hays State University's Western Kansas Center for Biotechnology and Bioinformatics, which he now directs."
The K-INBRE recently established a prestigious award for mid-level faculty of distinction, called "Faculty Scholars," to acknowledge their outstanding contributions to Kansas universities. The K-INBRE chose cell and development biology as its scientific research theme.
"We decided to nominate Gillock because of his success with conducting quality research and establishing an infrastructure for biomedical research initiatives," said Dr. Jeff Briggs, dean of the College of Health and Life Sciences. "We recognized his talent and knew he was a prime candidate for the K-INBRE award."
Gillock was one of 10 statewide award recipients and the first at FHSU.
Since beginning his career at FHSU as assistant professor of microbiology, Gillock has published two refereed papers and given five presentations at state and regional levels. His research focuses on the description, purification and identification of bacterial isolates that have antibacterial responses. He and his students are currently investigating environmental bacteria that show resistance to antibiotics, which could pose a threat to human health.
"I am truly honored to receive such a prestigious award," said Gillock. "I am grateful for the opportunity to work with a team of colleagues and students who share my passion to investigate a mystery that, when solved, has the potential to benefit human health. The money will help tremendously with our research."
Li-Cor Corporation, a leader in the design, manufacture, and marketing of integrated instrument systems for biotechnological research, donated the DNA analyzer to FHSU to aid in developing a state-of-the-art DNA sequencing lab. Gillock was responsible for developing the protocol for the establishment of the lab, which is known as the Western Kansas Center for Biotechnology and Bioinformatics.
"Li-Cor donated the analyzer in confidence that we could effectively demonstrate the use of such equipment in teaching and research," said Dr. Elmer Finck, chair of the Department of Biological Sciences. "They wanted us to set an example for other mid-sized universities by showing that the analyzer was indeed useful -- which Gillock's research has succeeded in doing."
Out-of-state universities have recognized Gillock's research using the DNA analyzer and have joined in the investment.
"Gillock's incredible expertise and effective interactive teaching style have shaped him into an outstanding faculty member," said Finck. "We are grateful for his contributions to our department. "
The award was made possible by NIH grant number P20 RR016475 from the INBRE Program of the National Center for Research Resources.