Dr. Mary Huff, the dean of the Bellarmine College of Arts and Sciences, receives national recognition

February 5, 2024

Dr. Mary Huff, dean of Bellarmine's College of Arts and Sciences
Dr. Mary Huff, the dean of Bellarmine’s College of Arts and Sciences, has been named one of 17 fellows of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) for 2024.
The national honorific program recognizes scientists who have made outstanding contributions to the field through their research, teaching, mentoring or other forms of service.
Huff is a biochemist studying the role of estrogen and estrogen-like substances in lung cancer. In collaboration with Dr. Carolyn Klinge at the University of Louisville Health Science Center, she is currently studying the effect of two carcinogens found in cigarette smoke (cadmium chloride and sodium arsenate) on lung cancer cell lines. 
She has been a member of the ASBMB Student Chapters Steering Committee for nine years. In this role, she chaired the Regional Meeting Awards committee and served on the ASBMB Honors Society, Outreach Grant and Marion B. Sewer Scholarship committees. Huff has also been extensively involved in the Undergraduate Poster Competition, having served as a judge and head judge for many years. In addition, she has written multiple articles for ASBMB Today.
Celeste Peterson, an associate professor of biology at Suffolk University in Boston who nominated Huff, wrote: “She has integrity and high ethical values. Her exceptional and sustained service to ASBMB and her leadership skills in higher education make her an inspiring and deserving candidate.”
Huff said the honor is humbling. “Through the years that I have been a part of ASBMB, I have had the opportunity to work with remarkable faculty from universities across the United States, all of whom I have the greatest respect for, and many who I believe are more deserving than myself,” she said. “It is a vibrant community of educators who deeply care about student success by focusing on exploring new teaching approaches and engaging them in meaningful research experiences. I feel truly honored and grateful to be recognized by this amazing community.” 
Huff, a professor of Biochemistry, said that while she has a deep appreciation for research, she was drawn to the classroom setting for several reasons.
“First, I have a strong passion for biochemistry, which makes sharing it with others simply fun! I want students to leave the classroom knowing that this is an exciting and evolving area of science that impacts all our lives, and I don't want them to see it as daunting or difficult to understand,” she said. “Watching students grasp challenging concepts or even finding joy in their own learning journey is incredibly rewarding.
“In addition, teaching gives me the opportunity to support students as they prepare for life beyond graduation. Engaging with them outside of the classroom, understanding their aspirations and helping them in following their own career paths is fulfilling. Building these relationships is the foundation of teaching here at Bellarmine, and it’s truly the most gratifying aspect of teaching here.”
Huff also said she enjoys mentoring students through their undergraduate research projects. “Nurturing their curiosity, guiding them to develop skills in the laboratory, and witnessing their own intellectual growth simply reinforces my commitment to teaching.”
This is the fourth year the ASBMB has named fellows. The society will recognize the 2024 class in March at its annual meeting, “Discover BMB,” in San Antonio.

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