ASU’s Miles Orchinik, PhD Named Arizona Bioscience Educator of the Year

The Arizona BioIndustry Association has named Miles Orchinik, Ph.D., with the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University, the 2014 Michael A. Cusanovich Arizona Bioscience Educator of the Year.

Miles Orchinik

Miles Orchinik, PhD
School of Life Sciences
Arizona State University
Photo: Sandra Leander, ASU

“Great educators open our eyes to possibilities. Working with their students, they inspire inquiry, make learning fun and demonstrate leadership on a daily basis,” shared Joan Koerber-Walker, President and CEO of the Arizona Bioindustry Association. “For those of us who may have left the classroom years ago, they create for us the gift of future scientists, engineers, medical professionals, entrepreneurs, and leaders. Through his work in the classroom and in the lab, Dr. Orchinik is inspiring a new generation of Arizona Bioscience Leaders.”


Orchinik served as associate director of the Arizona State University’s  School of Life Sciences (SOLS) undergraduate program from 2009 to the summer of 2014, and made creative changes that have vastly improved how SOLS students learn bioscience.


Committed to transforming traditional lectures into active learning, he has added breakout sessions to multiple classes to foster student interactions with each other and with their instructors. In 2014, Orchinik is teaching an Animal Physiology course that relies almost entirely on more effective, evidence-based active learning approaches.
In addition, Orchinik worked to ensure all SOLS students had a chance for success from the beginning of their college careers. He expanded the School of Life Sciences undergraduate mentoring program in conjunction with the SOLS’ freshman experience seminar, resulting in 80 peer mentors in the fall of 2013.


In 2012, he also established “Camp IGNITE,” which is a two-day freshman retreat where students meet each other, faculty, and advising staff, and participate in team-building exercises. This summer, Orchinik launched the “BioBridge Early Start Program” — a two-week academic and community-building experience for at-risk, incoming freshmen. Not only that, he also assisted the SOLS Ambassador student group in their outreach efforts to bring science-focused after-school programs to local high schools.

In recognition of his commitment to ensuring that Arizona life science students have every opportunity to succeed, Miles Orchinik, PhD is the Arizona BioIndustry Association’s 2014 Michael A. Cusanovich Arizona Bioscience Educator of the Year.


A ceremony honoring Dr. Orchinik will take place at the AZBio Awards Sept. 17 at the Phoenix Convention Center. The AZBio Awards ceremony celebrates Arizona’s leading educators, innovators and companies. Each year, AZBio honors bioindustry leaders from across the state of Arizona who are illustrative of the depth, breadth and expertise of the bioscience industry.

Past recipients of the Michael A. Cusanovich Arizona Bioscience Educator of the Year Award include:  Amanda Grimes (Mesa Biotechnology Academy), Dr. Jennifer Kahlet Barton (The University of Arizona), Dr. Nadja Anderson (The University of Arizona BIO5 Institute), Dr. Andrew Lettes, (Pueblo Magnet High School), Barbara Fransway (Arizona Research Laboratories, The University of Arizona), Margaret Wilch (Tucson High Magnet School), and Xan Simonson (Mesa High School).


For registration and more information, go to

About AZBio

AZBio – The Arizona Bioindustry Association – is comprised of member organizations in business, research, government, and other professions involved in the biosciences.  AZBio supports the members of the Arizona bioscience community by providing access to the key resources, connections, and information that support their ability to Connect, Collaborate, Innovate and Succeed thus supporting the growth of a thriving economic ecosystem for Arizona’s Bioscience Industry.

For more information visit and www.AZBio.TV

About Arizona Bioscience Week – Sept. 15 – 20, 2014

The AZBio Awards are just one of the exciting opportunities to connect with Arizona’s fastest growing industry sector during Arizona Bioscience Week. Other activities include company showcases and student discovery presentations that are free and open to the public as well as the White Hat Life Science Investor Conference which will be held September 18, 2014.


Arizona’s Life Science Industry is our state’s fastest growing technology sector and investments in Arizona companies are paying off as demonstrated by Insys Therapeutics (Chandler) which was the top performing initial public offering of 2013 and Ulthera (Mesa) which is being acquired this year for $600 million. AZBio in partnership with the Life Science Associations of Southern California, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Montana, Nevada, and Texas, is hosting accredited investors as guests for both the AZBio Awards September 17, 2014 and the White Hat Life Science Investor Conference on September 18.


In addition to great company presentations in the areas of Medical Device, Diagnostics, Therapeutics and Health IT, White Hat includes 3 general sessions (breakfast, lunch and closing) featuring panel discussions on the investment environment from the perspective of Angels, Strategic Investors and VC’s  with panelists including:  James Healy of Soffinova Ventures, Risa Stack of GE Ventures, David Douglass of Delphi Ventures, Jonathan Root of US Venture Partners, Randal Schulhauser of Medtronic, Evelia Johnston of the Michael J. Fox Foundation, Harry George of Solstice Capital, and more.


Details and registration information can be found at Registration is complimentary for all investors and members of the media.



Joan Koerber-Walker, Arizona Bioindustry Association  480-332-9636



Photos available upon request.


Posted in AZBio News.