Office of the Provost Announces Recipients of 2022 Curriculum Innovation Award

Northwestern faculty develop programs to address representation and sustainability

Heather Pinkett has been named the 2022 recipients of The Alumnae of Northwestern University’s Award for Curriculum Innovation.

The award seeks to support faculty members offering undergraduates innovations that enhance their curriculum through new courses, methods of instruction and new components to existing classes.

The recognition comes with $12,500 in award funding to be split between innovation development ($7,000), stipend ($5,000) and the faculty member’s home department ($500). 

Pinkett will use the award to work with students to develop a national resource to increase curriculum inclusivity and address representation in STEM.

Expanding representation in science lectures


Heather Pinkett, the Irving M. Klotz Research Professor and associate professor of molecular biosciences at the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, will create modules with students that highlight the professional stories of scientists with diverse backgrounds, particularly emphasizing scientists currently working in the field.  

Pinkett’s work will build on an existing biochemistry class, giving students additional opportunities to teach and learn from their classmates as well as implement changes to future curricula.

The project, called the Northwestern University Teach One Reach One project, or NU-TORO for short, promotes inclusion in STEM curriculum and gives students agency to reform STEM curriculum alongside their professor. By implementing a resource that highlights new connections between textbooks and contemporary research that traditional coursework may not allow, NU-TORO offers students different perspectives on the feasibility of careers in STEM.

Pinkett also will launch the NU-TORO website nationwide as a template for other educators to increase their own curriculum inclusivity, providing references and other resources.

The Pinkett lab looks at the way nutrients, antibiotics and chemotherapeutics are transported into and out of the cell, with an interest in ABC transporters, proteins that use ATP hydrolysis to move substrates across cell membranes.

Pinkett is an expert in ABC transporters, transcriptional regulation and host-pathogen interactions, and is also a member of the Chemistry of Life Processes Institute.