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Song Tan Awarded C.I. Noll Award for Excellence in Teaching

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02 October 2014

Song Tan
Song Tan
Song Tan, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Penn State, has been honored with the 2014 C.I. Noll Award for Excellence in Teaching by the Eberly College of Science Alumni Society. Instituted in 1972 and named in honor of Clarence I. Noll, dean of the college from 1965 to 1971, the award is the highest honor for undergraduate teaching in the college. Students, faculty members, and alumni nominate outstanding faculty members who best exemplify the key characteristics of a Penn State educator, and a committee of students selects the award winners from the group of nominees.

Tan teaches physical chemistry to undergraduate molecular biology and microbiology majors and structural biology to graduate students. He is being recognized for his ability to convey difficult subject matter and abstract concepts in innovative ways that engage students, encourage understanding, and promote retention. He also has mentored more than sixty undergraduate students in his research laboratory, including several who have won prestigious achievement awards. As a member of the Schreyer Honors College Distinguished Honors Faculty from 2012 to 2014, Tan hosted discussions on a variety of biomedical and social topics.

Tan's research uses structural and biochemical methods to understand how genes are switched off and on in our cells. He uses X-ray crystallography to determine the three-dimensional structures of large chromatin complexes -- the assembly of proteins and DNA that make up chromosomes -- that are involved in cellular differentiation and cell division.

Tan's previous awards and honors include a Penn State Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Tershak Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award in 2002 and being named the first Pew Scholar in Biomedical Sciences at Penn State in 2001.

Tan joined the faculty at Penn State in 1998 as an assistant professor and earned promotion to associate professor in 2004 and professor in 2011. Prior to his arrival at Penn State, Tan pursued postdoctoral work at the ETH Zurich in Switzerland. He earned his bachelor's degree in physics at Cornell University in 1985 and his doctoral degree in molecular biology at the University of Cambridge, England, in 1989 on a Marshall Scholarship.

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