Nicole Theodosiou, associate professor of biological sciences, has been elected to the inaugural class of the Society for Developmental Biology Academy.
Theodosiou is among 10 scientists chosen for the honor, which recognizes long-standing SDB members. These individuals have demonstrated sustained contributions to developmental biology through excellence in professional activities including research, mentoring, teaching and training, coupled with a record of engagement with and/or service to the society.
Theodosiou was the only scientist to represent a small liberal arts college.
“We sincerely appreciate your past and present contributions to the field of developmental biology, and
your dedication to furthering knowledge in this area as a leader in research and as an exceptional
educator,” said Victoria Prince, SDB president. “Your expertise and commitment to the advancement of developmental biology have not gone unnoticed, and we are honored to have you as a member of the SDB Academy.”
For the past four years, Theodosiou has served on the board of directors for the society, including as chair of the Professional Development and Education Committee. As chair, she oversees education grants, distinguished awards and develops annual programming in education and career development for its 2,000 members at all levels of their careers. She developed a business plan and launched a series of blended learning courses that include GetHIRED!, an interactive course to prepare postdocs entering the job market. She also oversaw the redesign of the society’s classic, in-person New Faculty Bootcamp, among other initiatives.
Theodosiou will serve as an ambassador for the society to amplify its mission and values.
“The Society for Developmental Biology has been my intellectual home for the last 25 years,” said Theodosiou. “It's an exciting field of research that brings together all aspects of biology from genetics to physiology, ecology and evolution, and it has been a joy to bring this field to the students at Union. I am truly honored by this recognition from my professional society.”
Her current research examines how the unique shapes of organs form in the embryo, and how those forms evolved over 400 million years of animal history. Her lab uses the spiral intestine as a model for studying shapes. Only the most ancient fish like sharks, skates and rays have retained the ancient spiral form to their intestines.
While at Union, she has authored 11 peer-reviewed research articles and 27 conference presentations, many with undergraduate students.
In the classroom and in the lab, Theodosiou is known for her innovative approach. During the early days of the pandemic, Theodosiou was lauded for her ability to adapt her developmental biology class into a meaningful and productive remote experience.
In 2020, she was awarded the Byron A. Nichols Endowed Fellowship for Faculty Development. Her three-year project, “Electric City Cottage: A Mobile Cross-Disciplinary Platform for Science Communication,” brought together science, engineering, theater, dance and technical design.
In 2021, the College awarded Theodosiou the Stillman Prize for Faculty Excellence in Teaching.
“Nicole’s students deeply appreciate the work that she puts into making her classes exciting, fun, interesting and enjoyable at the same time that they are challenging,” said Michele Angrist, the Stephen J. and Diane K. Ciesinski Dean of Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs, in presenting the award.
Theodosiou serves as the project director for a grant awarded to the College from the renowned Howard Hughes Medical Institute to strengthen the study and teaching of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) for all of its students.
The HHMI Inclusive Excellence 3 (IE3) initiative challenges U.S. colleges and universities “to substantially and sustainably build their capacity for student belonging, especially for those who have been historically excluded from the sciences.”
Theodosiou received her bachelor of arts degree from Swarthmore College and her Ph.D. from Yale University.
She joined Union in 2007.