The Florida Tech Faculty Senate has named its Faculty Senate Excellence Award in Research after Charles E. Helmstetter (pictured), a professor of biological sciences at Florida Tech from 1989 to 2010.
While at Roswell Park Memorial Institute and SUNY–Buffalo in the late 1960s, Helmstetter proposed a model for the prokaryotic cell cycle through the use of a machine he developed that produced synchronously growing bacterial cells. That cycle has stood the test of time and is included in microbiology/bacteriology textbooks.
Helmstetter arrived at Florida Tech after a search for an established researcher to promote research on campus. Never before had there been a prominent, nationally known and National Institutes of Health-funded researcher on campus. Helmstetter started and promoted the molecular biology research program present today at Florida Tech. He was a major contributor to bringing in faculty and assisting them in establishing successful research programs. He was considered by many an elder statesman of research, always willing to impart knowledge gained through more than 30 years of funded research both informally and in the classroom.
Each year the Florida Tech Faculty Senate celebrates faculty excellence in three areas of teaching, research and service. The Helmstetter Award now joins the Kerry Bruce Clark Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Andrew W. Revay Jr. Award for Excellence in Service.