Patricia L. Clark
Rev. John Cardinal O’Hara, C.S.C., Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Associate Vice President for Research
“As a biophysical chemist, I am drawn to understand how and why the biological world works the way that it does at the molecular level. The answers to many of the most fundamental questions remain unknown because we lack techniques and methods that can accurately isolate and measure key biological variables. This lack of tools makes scientific discovery doubly hard—and the pace often slow—as it first requires developing a suitable tool as a prerequisite to answering a fundamental question.
“I have always appreciated the value that my Notre Dame colleagues have attached to the time and effort that my research laboratory has invested in new tool development. Their confidence in me was especially important during my first years as an assistant professor, when it was perhaps harder for an outsider to see the potential payoffs of our initial investments.
“Crucially, my ability to develop new tools to answer previously unanswerable questions has been successful only because of the excellent graduate students, undergraduate students, and postdoctoral researchers in my laboratory. These smart, creative, and dedicated trainees have been true partners on this journey. My greatest professional joy is the opportunity to nurture their development as scientists and individuals, both in the classroom as well as the laboratory.”