Unlocking mysteries of brain, grooming future med students goals of UH prof
Costa M. Colbert receives John Butler Teaching Excellence Award
HOUSTON, May 12, 2005 – Grooming future health care professionals is just one important contribution Costa M. Colbert makes at the University of Houston.
A UH associate professor of biology and biochemistry, Colbert has recently received the 2005 College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (NSM) John Butler Teaching Excellence Award, named for a former UH dean and geosciences professor who was always looking for better ways to teach and make students look at things differently.
The award recognizes one faculty member each year for contributions made to the teaching mission of the college. The honor includes a base salary increase of $1,000 and, according to tradition, Colbert will address the graduates at the NSM graduation ceremonies May 15.
"We are very happy to bestow this honor on Costa Colbert," says NSM Dean John Bear. "The University of Houston is fortunate to have professors such as Costa, who can transmit the excitement of scientific research from the laboratory into the classroom."
Colbert received his Ph.D. and M.D. degrees from the University of Virginia. Since joining the UH faculty in 1997, he has taught human physiology, anatomy and physiology, neuroscience and neurophysiology, and has served as faculty advisor to three successful student organizations.
"Having an M.D. has been invaluable in allowing me to tailor my courses to future health care professionals," Colbert said. "I have a very clear idea of what they need to know."
Colbert is currently working on research funded by the National Institutes of Health and the State of Texas to investigate how individual neurons process information. As cells of the nervous system, neurons are specialized to carry messages to each other through an electrochemical process. These messages communicate feelings, movements, sensations, memories and thoughts.
"My long-term research goal is to understand how neurons, particularly those in the cerebral cortex, produce thought and behavior," Colbert said.
This research could lead to advances in treatment of diseases such as Alzheimer's and schizophrenia, in which abnormalities or loss of neurons compromise brain function.
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