Dr. Laura C. Bridgewater became Associate Academic Vice President for Faculty Development in August of 2018. Prior to that, she served as an Associate Dean in the College of Life Sciences and as Chair of the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Biology.
During her time at BYU, Dr. Bridgewater has taught molecular biology to thousands of undergraduate students and has taught graduate courses in gene regulation and cancer biology. In addition to her graduate students, she has mentored over 150 undergraduate students in her research laboratory, over half of whom have become authors on peer-reviewed research publications or presentations at scientific conferences. She received BYU’s Young Scholar Award in 2004, was BYU’s Alice Louise Reynolds Lecturer in 2006, and received the College of Life Sciences’ Outstanding Mentor Award in 2008. Dr. Bridgewater's research has focused on cartilage development and the genes that promote osteoarthritis, and on a protein called nBMP2 that was discovered in her lab at BYU. In recent years she has developed a new research focus on how the gut microbiota can be impacted by stress and diet, and on the identification and utilization of bacteriophages as tools to manipulate and improve the composition of the gut microbiota. Her work has been funded by National Institutes of Health RO1, RO3, and R15 awards, by a grant from the Ira and Mary Lou Fulton Family Foundation, and by internal BYU grants.
Dr. Bridgewater received her bachelor’s degree in microbiology from BYU and her Ph.D. in genetics from The George Washington University. She performed a postdoc at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and has been on the faculty at BYU since 1999. She and her husband Tim (B.S. in Business Finance, BYU) are the parents of 4 children. They enjoy spending time in the mountains, at Lake Powell, at the beach, and in their own back yard.