Stem Cell Researcher Named Teacher of the Year

Dr. Mohammed El Majdoubi was named Dominican University's 2009 Teacher of the Year during the University's Honors Ceremony, Friday April 24. Majdoubi is a professor in the Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics whose stem cell research could yield treatments for neuroendocrine diseases.

Mathematics instructor Eugene Oswald was recognized as the University’s 2009 Adjunct Teacher of the Year.

Dominican’s Teachers of the Year are faculty members nominated by University students. The nominees must be model classroom teachers, be respected and admired by students and colleagues for having a successful teaching methodology, and be professionally active and generous in service to the University.

The  annual Honors Ceremony celebrates the academic achievements of Dominican students. Students received  medallions for graduating cum laude, magna cum laude, or summa cum laude. In addition, students were recognized as academic scholars and for participating in honor societies. Honor societies at Dominican include Gamma Sigma; Psi Chi; Alpha Chi; Alpha Sigma Lambda; Alpha Lambda Delta; Beta, Beta, Beta; Pi Sigma Alpha; Phi Alpha Theta; Sigma Tau Delta; Sigma Theta Tau; Sigma Beta Delta.

Majdoubi is training his undergraduate students to culture, maintain, and manipulate mouse embryonic stem cells in order to examine the embryonic development of neuroendocrine cells. These hormone-secreting cells control most of our vital functions including growth, reproduction, and stress responses. By the time they reach their senior year, the students will have learned how to induce cells to form various cell lineages such as neurons and, eventually, beating heart cells.

As co-principal investigator on a $4 million grant from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Majdoubi is collaborating with scientists from throughout California on cutting-edge research into neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

Majdoubi is described by students as “approachable, inspirational, friendly, funny, and dedicated, serving not only as an outstanding academic, but also as a mentor for all who seek guidance.”

One student notes that Majdoubi's “positive thinking and thirst for knowledge inspires many students to continue studying for an advanced degree in the sciences.”

After receiving his Ph.D. in Neuroscience & Pharmacology from the University of Bordeaux, France, our Teacher of the Year worked at the University of Pittsburgh as a Research Associate before joining the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) as a Visiting Scholar, then as an Assistant Research Endocrinologist and Director of the Morphology and Cell Imaging Core in the Center for Reproductive Sciences. He joined Dominican's faculty in 2004.

A dedicated educator, Oswald received his master's degree in mathematics from Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI. He taught for many years Marin's Terra Linda High School before joining Dominican's faculty 11 years ago.

Oswald was described by one student on the Adjunct Teacher of the Year nomination form as “one of the most inspiring teachers I have ever met." He was praised for his ability to break down a subject in order to help students grasp often complex mathematical problems.

“He shows us consistent methods that are not always shown in a textbook,” said one student. “He is a role model for me, because I want to be a teacher one day. His passion for teaching shines through brightly as he always dedicates himself to his students.”