WCSU biologist Philbrick elected to Connecticut science academy
Western professor recognized for scientific contributions in his field

DANBURY, CONN. Western Connecticut State University biologist Dr. Thomas Philbrick has been elected as a member of the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering, a nonprofit professional organization dedicated to promoting informed public discussion of science-related subjects and student interest in pursuing careers in the sciences.

Philbrick, professor of biological and environmental sciences at WCSU, received notification in February of his election as one of 33 new members chosen in 2013 to join the academy, founded by Connecticut General Assembly action in 1976 and patterned after the National Academy of Sciences. Membership in CASE, limited to no more than 400 elite scientists from academic institutions, government agencies and businesses across Connecticut, recognizes “scientific distinction achieved through significant contribution in theory or application” as well as accomplishments in emerging fields of science and technology. Newly elected members will be introduced at the academy’s annual meeting and dinner to be held on May 22.

Philbrick, who earned his Ph.D. at the University of Connecticut, has conducted field research in remote river and forest locations across the Americas from Mexico and Central America to Venezuela and Brazil. He has published numerous articles in scientific journals about the biology, taxonomy and evolution of aquatic flowering plants and the biodiversity of riverweeds. In addition to teaching a wide range of introductory and advanced biology and ecology courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels, he has provided opportunities for students to participate as research assistants in field work to study and collect specimens of botanical species found in Latin American river environments.

Also recognized as a Connecticut State University Distinguished Professor, Philbrick expressed gratitude for his election to CASE and strong interest in contributing to the academy’s mission. CASE president Louis Manzione observed in his notification letter that the academy’s primary objectives are to inform and advise government, industry and the public on science and technology topics, and to encourage youths to pursue studies and careers in science, engineering and technology. CASE publishes periodic reports of studies conducted by academy members at the request of state government agencies, the General Assembly and private organizations.

“Integrating science with public policy is a primary goal of the academy,” Philbrick said. “One issue of particular interest to me is the impact of economic growth and development on the natural biota of Connecticut – in other words, our state’s natural heritage. I look forward to learning what studies are under way that integrate these topics.”

For more information, contact the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.


Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.

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