N. Bharathan, Department of Biology, will be presented with the Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society Distinguished Service Award at the society’s national convention in Charleston, S.C., October 10–12, 2014.
This prestigious award is only presented at the Phi Eta Sigma’s biennial conventions to individuals who have given loyal and devoted service to the Society over a period of five years or more.
Bharathan is the adviser of the Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) chapter of Phi Eta Sigma that he founded in 1999. A professor of cell molecular biology and current chair of the Department of Biology, he has been a team leader and coprincipal investigator of several multi-million-dollar research and training projects funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Guard Bureau, and the Department of Homeland Security. Since 2009, Bharathan serves as a principal investigator in the Microbial Forensics in Biodefense Project, funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, to develop nucleic acid and protein signature patterns in a plant pathogen Rhizoctonia solani model system. As a team leader, his team has completed the genome sequence and established universal proteomics of the plant pathogen.
Many of his students working on these projects also serve as active members of Phi Eta Sigma. These and many other students from Phi Eta Sigma at IUP have gone to premier schools like Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and the University of Pennsylvania to pursue doctoral degrees. Bharathan has made several scientific presentations in national and international meetings and has published research papers extensively in which the students are primary or secondary authors.
Bharathan’s leadership and creativity have been outstanding for the local chapter. He has been crucial in recruiting new members; producing a local newsletter; and, most notably, the point system of scoring for student scholarship and service activities on IUP campus. Under his leadership, the chapter grew and became more dynamic with more than four chapter members attending national conventions. Nearly 63 students have received more than $92,000 in national and local scholarships since 1999. With the help of student members, he initiated several local, regional, and international projects. Phi Eta Sigma students members from IUP have been active in Adopt-A-Highway, the Allegheny Arboretum in Western Pennsylvania, and the Habitat for Humanity. Thus, Bharathan, while emphasizing service that has the potential to enrich learning and renew communities, has also given it the new dignity to the scholarship of service. With his strong commitment to excellence in research, teaching, and service, Bharathan continues to impact the lives of students at IUP and those in the military that serve our country.
The Phi Eta Sigma Executive Committee unanimously approved Bharathan for this award. The 42nd national convention of Phi Eta Sigma congratulates Dr. N. Bharathan as a 2014 recipient of the Society’s Distinguished Service Award.