George Mason University’s Alessandra Luchini is among the 12 educators statewide set to be formally recognized by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) with a 2023 Outstanding Faculty Award.
Luchini, a professor in Mason’s Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine (CAPMM) within the College of Science, is Mason’s 28th faculty member to be so honored since the award’s inception in 1987.
“This has been unbelievable,” said Luchini, the director of the Biosciences PhD Program within the School of Systems Biology, “because it is the highest honor in Virginia, and there are so many thousands of faculty with huge impact in their research. It is a complete honor, and I am incredulous.”
Outstanding Faculty Awards recognize faculty at Virginia’s public and private colleges and universities who exemplify the highest standards of teaching, scholarship and service. The award includes a $7,500 gift from the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation when they are formally recognized at an in-person ceremony in Richmond on March 7.
Mark R. Ginsberg, Mason’s provost and executive vice president, lauded Luchini for her efforts.
“Professor Luchini is an exemplary member of the Mason faculty,” Ginsberg said. “I am delighted she has been recognized for her dedication to the education and development of her students and her outstanding and higher consequential research. She exemplifies the Mason spirit and is setting an example for future educators and scientists who will no doubt stand on her shoulders.”
Luchini’s research interests include developing technologies that improve current diagnostics and therapeutics for diseases, including cancer and inflammatory and infectious diseases.
She is a co-founder of Ceres Nanosciences Inc., which was created in 2008, and Monet Pharmaseuticals, created in 2019. In 2011, Luchini was named one of Popular Science’s Brilliant 10.
Most recently, Luchini contributed to the fight against Lyme disease by help leading a team of CAPMM researchers that was named one of 10 Phase 1 winners of the LymeX Diagnostic Prize by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Foundation.
“Lyme disease is probably what I have been closer to,” Luchini said. “I interact with doctors who recommend patients for our clinical trials, I interact with patients and I hear their stories and, hopefully, my research allows them to understand a little bit more about what they have and how they can improve their health. It is a good reality check and a good reminder of why we do what we do—which is to help people.”
Outstanding Faculty Award nominees are selected by their institutions, reviewed by a panel of peers and chosen by a committee of leaders from the public and private sectors. SCHEV received 74 nominations this year before the group was narrowed to 24 finalists and the 12 eventual winners.