Marya Lieberman wins 2022 James A. Burns, C.S.C., Award

Author: Rebecca Hicks

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Marya Lieberman, Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry, has won the James A. Burns, C.S.C., Award from the Graduate School at the University of Notre Dame. This award recognizes “outstanding faculty mentorship and showcases the very best doctoral advisors and the value of positive mentor/mentee relationships.”

For more than 10 years, Lieberman has spearheaded the Paper Analytical Device (PAD) Project, aimed at developing low-cost, high-quality analytical tools to accurately test pharmaceuticals and other compounds in low-resource settings. She has used this work to engage graduate students in rewarding research that provides opportunities to travel the world and see first-hand the results of their efforts. Through a National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Students project, she also has mentored students who go on to spend time in Nepal or Kenya to further develop their technologies.

Beyond Notre Dame, Lieberman has transferred the technology to make PADs to research groups in Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Malawi, and Kenya to increase access and build research capacity around the globe. In addition, Lieberman has trained over 130 drug regulatory agents from Africa and southeast Asia in the use of the PAD technology.

Overarching all of these experiences, though, is the true care and concern that Lieberman has for her mentees. Time and again, former students comment about her tremendous support and how she has inspired them to believe in their talents and abilities, motivating them to work harder and achieve more. They also highlight how she helps students develop leadership and independent problem-solving skills that serve them well in their careers.

Professor Lieberman’s commitment to her students’ development as scientists and professionals of the highest caliber alongside her personal interest in their achievements make her an ideal example of the best of graduate education at Notre Dame.