Faculty “Gem” Receives Bass Connections Leadership Award

April 14, 2023
Nine team members posing together.
Kim (fourth from the right) with the team at the Fall 2022 iGEM competition in Paris

Cameron Kim is the winner of the 2023 Bass Connections Leadership Award. This award recognizes outstanding faculty and staff team leaders for their creativity, intellectual vision and commitment to student mentoring on Bass Connections project teams.

Cameron Kim Headshot.Kim, an assistant professor of the practice in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, is a leader of the Synthetic Biology and Genetic Engineering for Human Health and Society team. Each year, this team competes in the iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine) competition, an annual event that recognizes student innovation in biotechnology. This fall, the team was awarded a silver medal for their work, which included modeling and building synthetic gene circuits to understand the emergence of drug resistance in brain cancer cells.

Letters of support from Kim’s students described his dedication not only to the success of the team, but to the individual success of budding engineers. Students described how he has equipped them with the skills, ability to weigh the ethical implications of their work and the motivation needed to execute complex research. Students also emphasized Kim’s commitment to interdisciplinary collaboration and external partnerships, as evidenced by a symposium that he organized to engage with colleagues at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University.

Kim will receive a monetary prize.

The runner-up and finalists for this award included one individual and three leadership teams:

Three photos in a grid: two students doing lab work; one student pipetting; one student looking through a microscope.
Members of the Synthetic Biology and Genetic Engineering for Human Health and Society team in the lab

Praise for Cameron Kim

Ten undergraduate student team members submitted letters of support for Dr. Kim:

Dr. Kim stands out as one of the gems of our Bass Connections experience–truly, he is one of the most dedicated, caring, and inspiring mentors that we’ve had the privilege of knowing. With the support and guidance of Dr. Kim, our team has been able to come together and truly take ownership of our project over the last few years.

In his role as a mentor, Dr. Kim works tirelessly to train team members in the skills and techniques that they need, and he always places a special emphasis on ensuring that all members of the team feel involved and comfortable with the work being done.As an educator, a leader, a mentor, and a friend, Dr. Kim has played an integral role in each of our lives. With his support and guidance, we’ve grown as students, scientists, and researchers, and his belief in each of us has inspired us to achieve our full potential over the last few years. 

Four students posing together in the lab.Dr. Kim is raising the next generation of leading biomedical engineers and young leaders in the field of synthetic biology by challenging us each day to expand our knowledge, explore new and upcoming biological technologies and emphasize the importance of considering the effect synthetic biology has on our local community and the world.

Dr. Kim recognizes that the best solutions often arise from interdisciplinary collaborations, and he encourages his students to engage with and learn from individuals with different backgrounds and perspectives. He models this approach by facilitating opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration within the iGEM team.

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