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Michael Caparon, PhD

Michael Caparon, PhD, professor of molecular microbiology, is honored for his outstanding contributions to graduate student teaching.

Caparon, also associate director of the Center for Women’s Infectious Disease Research, has been a cornerstone of the microbiology training program for 25 years. He has served as course master for all of the microbiology graduate and medical courses and currently teaches in six courses. As a course master, he implemented several novel teaching techniques, including mixing case history presentations with lectures on the related underlying pathophysiology, helping students synthesize disease development with symptoms. He is known as a master at using everyday experiences such as movies, video games and historical events to draw students into learning complex science. Medical students have honored him seven times with the Distinguished Teaching Award.

In graduate education, he has been head of the microbiology admissions committee for the past five years and has served on the steering committee for more than 15. He also initiated a popular grant-writing workshop that is highly valued by trainees in helping them develop this essential skill. Most importantly, Caparon has mentored more than 30 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in his laboratory, which focuses on understanding the complex interactions between pathogenic gram positive bacteria and their human hosts during infection. Trainees appreciate his ability to guide them in tackling difficult questions and to support them as they explore new avenues of thought. The Graduate Student Senate awarded him the Special Recognition Award in Mentoring and Graduate Education in 2002.

Caparon received his bachelor’s degree in 1981 from Michigan State University and his doctorate from the University of Iowa in 1985. He completed postdoctoral training at Emory University before joining the Washington University faculty in 1989.

Published: 02/20/2015