Mesecar honored for outstanding graduate mentorship

Andrew Mesecar in a Purdue Lab Andrew Mesecar, Head of the Department of Biochemistry, Deputy Director of the Purdue Center for Cancer Research and the Walther Professor of Cancer Structural Biology, has received the Provost’s Award for Outstanding Graduate Mentor.

Andrew Mesecar, head of the Department of Biochemistry and Walther Professor of Cancer Structural Biology, has received the Provost’s Award for Outstanding Graduate Mentor. This award honors graduate faculty members for their excellent contributions to mentorship, committees, funding, advocacy, administration, and teaching at the Purdue West Lafayette campus.

Throughout Mesecar’s career, he has trained 33 graduate students, 25 of which have graduated from his lab and 10 of which have earned their PhD or master’s degree from Purdue. He also developed a graduate course, Biological & Structural Bases for Drug Design and Action (BCHM 536) and contributed to the Biochemistry program by initiating the creation of the Graduate Student Organization (GSO). These are just a handful of Mesecar’s many meaningful and lasting contributions to the Purdue graduate education experience. He is esteemed by colleagues and students alike.

Mesecar said, “We have a ‘work hard-play hard’ motto in the lab, and I believe in raising the bar high and working hard to help my students jump over that bar. I have found over the years that by creating this type of rigorous yet fun scientific training environment, with the ultimate goal of impacting human health, it attracts excellent, well-rounded students.”

James D. Forney, a professor of biochemistry and interim head of the Department of Biochemistry said, “Preparing the next generation of scientists for a wide range of career options requires understanding, compassion and leadership. These are qualities Dr. Mesecar demonstrates in abundance.”

As testament to these qualities of Mesecar’s excellent mentorship, one current student in Mesecar’s lab said, “As a result of [his] kind-heartedness, along with his dedication and ability to infect his students with enthusiastic curiosity and passion for answers, I successfully achieved my PhD.”

Another student in Mesecar’s lab, who also became a teaching assistant in his class said, “I quickly learned after joining Andy’s lab that the passion and aptitude for teaching I had observed in the classroom extended to all facets of his lab.”

Mesecar is currently a trainer on three NIH T32 pre-doctoral training grants at Purdue University, one is focused on structure biology and two on drug discovery. His students present their work at national meetings and their publication records are strong. Mesecar has published over 150 papers during his career including 80 papers with his graduate students. 29 of his 33 most recent publications (88%) have graduate student co-authors.

Mesecar’s graduate students have pursued a wide variety of career paths, including academia, industry, and in some cases combining their PhD with medicine or law. The wide range of careers of his former students reflects the fact that Mesecar treats each student as an individual enabling them to explore the career opportunities that are best suited to them.

Mesecar’s dedication to graduate student mentoring and success is enduring and substantial, deserving of this prestigious award.


Writer: Beth Ferrier,

June 04, 2021

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