Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award
Professor of Biology
Since coming to Plymouth State University in 1992, biology professor Christopher Chabot has evolved from a science teacher to a teaching scientist. By incorporating research into his classes, Chabot gives his students the opportunity to learn science by actively engaging in research and conducting experiments that illustrate the fundamental principles of biology.
In his upper level courses, students not only conduct experiments, but are empowered to decide upon appropriate follow-up experiments, with the ultimate goal of presenting their findings at national or international conferences. While creating these presentations requires students to put in extra time, including nights and weekends, Chabot notes, “They do it with a smile and a sense of satisfaction with the final project.”
In addition to infusing research into his classes, Chabot maintains his own active research program which continues to attract the interest of his students. His research focuses on the physiological control of circadian rhythms—or biological clocks—in animals, in particular the Limulus polyphemus, the American Horse Shoe crab. Together, Chabot and his students conduct laboratory and field studies of the horseshoe crab behavior to better understand how the animal’s internal clocks affect its behavior. Their studies just may lead to a better understanding and treatment of human health issues such as seasonal depression and jet lag.
“I truly believe that, without the opportunities Dr. Chabot’s research and courses have presented to me, I would not appreciate my undergraduate degree as much as I do,” another student notes. “He has been an important factor in my decision to apply to graduate school.”
Whether he’s teaching in the classroom, in the lab, or out in the field, there’s no question that Chabot enjoys fostering the intellectual curiosity of his students. “The best feedback I get is looking at my students and seeing the dawning of understanding flash on their faces,” says Chabot. “I just love that.”