Mentor Award

Bruce K. Gale

Bruce K. Gale

Bruce K. Gale received his undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from Brigham Young University in 1995 and his PhD in Bioengineering from the University of Utah in 2000.  He was an assistant professor of Biomedical Engineering at Louisiana Tech University before returning to the University of Utah in 2001 where he is now a professor of Mechanical Engineering.  He is currently Director of the Utah State Center of Excellence for Biomedical Microfluidics and the College of Engineering Nanofabrication Facility.  He is also Chief Science Officer at Wasatch Microfluidics, a multiplexed instrument development company focused on protein characterization in the pharmaceutical industry, that was spun out of his lab in 2005. He also recently became Chief Science Officer at Espira, which focuses on pathogen detection.  He has been working in the area of microfluidics, nanotechnology, medical devices, and micro-total-analysis systems (m-TAS) for the past 18 years. His primary interests include lab-on-a chip devices that require a variety of microfluidic components for the completion of complex and challenging medical and biological assays.  Specifically, he is working to develop a microfluidic toolbox for the rapid design, simulation, and fabrication of devices with medical and biological applications.  The ultimate goal is to develop platforms for personalized medicine, which should allow medical treatments to be customized to the needs of individual patients.  He also has expertise in nanoscale patterning of proteins and sensors, nanoparticle characterization, miniature medical devices, and nanofabrication techniques.  He has graduated 13 PhD students and 27 MS students and advised 6 post doctoral researchers.  He is currently advising 11 PhD and 2 MS students. He has also advised dozens of undergraduate students on research projects.

Matthew Mulvey, PhD

Matthew Mulvey, PhD

Matthew Mulvey - I was born in El Paso, Texas, where I lived until moving to attend the University of Texas at Austin. There I received a Ph.D. in Biology after completing a thesis project that examined the assembly of virus particles in mammalian cells. During a postdoc fellowship that took me to Sweden and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, I was introduced to the world of bacterial pathogens and their remarkable ability to commandeer host functions and thwart host defenses. I have continued work in this field since starting my own lab at the University of Utah in 2001. My group is currently focused on understanding the survival and virulence strategies employed by a group of important bacterial pathogens collectively known as Extraintestinal Pathogenic Escherichia coli, or ExPEC. These bacteria can efficiently colonize the gastrointestinal tract like commensal strains, but have the added capacity to disseminate and cause disease in other host niches, including the blood, central nervous system, and the urinary tract. ExPEC strains are responsible for some of the most common infections on the planet and are gaining resistance to antibiotics at an alarming rate. We are working to delineate both bacterial and host factors that control the ability of ExPEC to colonize and persist within diverse environments, with a major goal being the development of new anti-bacterial therapeutics.

Timothy W. Smith, PhD

Timothy W. Smith, PhD

Timothy W. Smith received his BA in psychology from Gettysburg College, and his PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Kansas. After a pre-doctoral internship in clinical psychology and post-doctoral fellowship in behavioral medicine at the Brown University Program in Medicine, Dr. Smith joined the faculty of the Department of Psychology at the University of Utah in 1983. He has published approximately 250 scholarly articles, chapters, and books, and his widely cited research has been supported by the NIH. At Utah, he has served as the Department Chair, Director of Graduate Studies, and multiple times as the Director of the Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology. He founded the Graduate Program in Health Psychology at Utah, and has supervised 25 successful PhD students.  In the 21 year history of the American Psychological Association Early Career Award in Health Psychology, two of his PhDs have received this prestigious award, and only two other institutions (UCLA, Yale) have multiple recipients of this honor among their graduates. He also served on the APA Committee that established guidelines for graduate training in clinical health psychology.

Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Scholar Distinguished Mentor Award

To honor and encourage the considerable efforts and accomplishments of faculty who consistently serve as effective mentors of graduate students and postdoctoral scholars, The Graduate School established a Distinguished Mentor Award in 2006 for faculty from any discipline.

The award recognizes faculty who effectively guide graduate students and postdoctoral scholars throughout their professional training in a continuing, multifaceted partnership sustained by mutual respect and concern. The relationship between a graduate student and/or postdoctoral scholar and his or her faculty advisor is one that can have a profound, lifelong influence on both parties. At its best, this mentoring relationship inspires and gives confidence to the student or postdoctoral scholar while providing the faculty member with a valued colleague.

The effective mentor serves as advisor, teacher, advocate, sponsor, and role model. Thus we seek nominations of faculty who:

  • Provide intellectual leadership. Model a record of excellence in research and/or creative work, teaching skills, research and artistic presentation and publication; ensure that students and postdoctoral scholars master the content and skills of their discipline; clearly articulate expectations and hold students and postdoctoral scholars to high standards.
  • Create a supportive environment for research, scholarship and/or artistic production; respect student and postdoctoral scholar goals and assist them in goal attainment; provide students and postdoctoral scholars with the resources necessary to take full advantage of institutional, academic and professional opportunities (publications, conferences, networking, etc.).
  • Promote successful and timely completion of students’ degree programs and postdoctoral scholar projects; are proactive and effective in student and postdoctoral scholar posttraining placement.
  • Act as advocates for students and postdoctoral scholars individually or collectively; help in overcoming problems, discord, barriers.
  • Maintain accessibility by providing consistently open lines of communication; assist students and postdoctoral scholars outside of “own group.”
  • Integrate students and/or postdoctoral scholars into the broader culture of the discipline.

Recipients of The Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Scholar Distinguished Mentor Award will receive an award of $2,500. Up to three awards will be made in 2014.



Nominees must be faculty members who have established a track record of advising graduate students and/or postdoctoral scholars. Nominators may recognize the many forms that mentorship can take. We encourage nomination of women, faculty of color, and members of other groups historically underrepresented in their disciplines.

Nomination procedure

Nominations may be submitted by graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, and faculty. 2013 nomination files will be reconsidered in 2014 with the submission of an updated CV. Updated nomination and support letters are invited.

The nominations should be addressed to:

Mentor Award
The Graduate School
302 Park Building
201 S Presidents Circle
Salt Lake City, UT 84112

Nominations should include the following:

  1. Nominating letter (3 p maximum) addressing the criteria in this announcement.
  2. Current curriculum vitae for nominee (shorten to 5 p maximum). The CV should include material that addresses the mentor criteria, including a list of past graduate students/postdoctoral scholars with their placement/position upon leaving the University of Utah.
  3. At least three but not more than five additional letters of support from colleagues and former students and postdoctoral scholars.
  4. A letter from the department chair or dean supporting and evaluating the nomination.

Selection Process

Nominations will be reviewed by an interdisciplinary selection committee composed of faculty (including past recipients of the Distinguished Mentor Award, postdoctoral scholars, and graduate students. Awardees will be selected by the dean of The Graduate School based upon recommendations of this committee.


The nomination deadline for the 2014 Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Scholar Distinguished Mentor award will be December 20, 2013.