Daniel J. Klionsky
NSF Award Recognition: NSF 2003 Distinguished Teaching Scholars

Research Contributions: Dr. Klionsky’s research deals with organelle biogenesis and focuses on achieving a molecular understanding of the dynamic processes in which membranes form within cells to enwrap and degrade proteins during conditions of nutrient stress. Defects in these processes of protein turnover, which are termed autophagy, are associated with several human diseases. He received a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship in 1997 to advance his work on the molecular basis of autophagy, and is editing a text on the subject that contains contributions from international researchers in this discipline. His prominence as a researcher was recently acknowledged by his appointment as one of the charter faculty of the newly established University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute and his being named as the Abram Sager Collegiate Professor of Life Sciences.

Educational Contributions: Dr. Klionsky’s primary undergraduate responsibilities have been in introductory biology. The evolution of his thinking about and experience with teaching large enrollment classes have lead to the incorporation of collaborative- and active-learning strategies into lecture courses. One of his recent papers on this topic was chosen from articles published over the last five years in the Journal of College Science Teaching for inclusion in the book Innovative Techniques for Large-Group Instruction. Since arriving at the University of Michigan Dr. Klionsky has influenced the modification of introductory biology courses affecting large numbers of students, both majors and non-majors, to incorporate a problem-solving format.

Director's Award Project: Dr. Klionsky’s project aims to reform the introductory biology curriculum at the university by adapting techniques used by smaller colleges, including strategies that implement group-learning exercises in lecture settings. His goal is to transform lectures from vehicles for delivering information to interactive discussions of the ideas, principles, and problem solving, which are the essence of science.

from NSF Event, June 3, 2003 Program