Competition: US & Canada
Education: Swarthmore College
Mark Jacobs is the Dean of Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University. He received a B.A. magna cum laude in Biology from Harvard University, a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from Stanford University, and held a NATO Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Freiburg in Germany. He was for 28 years on the faculty and in the administration of Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. He was the Associate Provost of Swarthmore, and was Chair of Biology several times. He was particularly interested in student research at Swarthmore, helped to plan and/or write all of Swarthmore’s four consecutive Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) grants supporting undergraduate science research, and was the research mentor to over 40 students in formal (whole-semester or summer) research projects. At Arizona State University, he has co-taught the Developmental Biology course in the School of Life Sciences and teaches an honors seminar on the History and Evolution of Human Food. Dr. Jacobs is one of the co-principal investigators of ASU’s $1.8 Million Howard Hughes Medical Institute Undergraduate Science Research grant.
Dr. Jacobs’ research addresses the way that organisms regulate their growth and development, and he is particularly fascinated with what makes plants grow tall. He has focused on plant hormones—how they are transported within the plant and how they act at their target tissues—and has often written about cell membrane proteins that act as receptors for the hormones and that generally help cells sense their environment. He has over 50 publications, including several papers in Science and PNAS, and has received research grants from the NSF, the USDA, the NIH and HHMI. He was awarded a Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) Fellowship in 1979 and the Guggenheim Fellowship in 1986 to support his work. He was for 12 years the Associate Editor in Chief of the international plant biology journal Plant Physiology and Biochemistry.
At ASU, Dr. Jacobs has been working to build the Barrett Honors College into a new definition of an American Honors College. That has involved recruiting better students, continuing to recruit top faculty, improving the advising system, raising more funds in support of programs, instituting an honors college fee, increasing scholarship funds, and increasing the number of honors courses available to ASU honors students. The work has included the opening in 2009 of a new $130 million, 1,700-bed honors college campus in Tempe.