Two Office of Science/Biological and Environmental Research (SC/BER) Supported Scientists Win Major Microbiology Awards


At the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) in Washington, DC, May 18-22, two SC/BER supported microbiologists will receive prestigious ASM awards. Dr. Kenneth Nealson of the University of Southern California will receive the Proctor and Gamble Award in Applied and Environmental Microbiology for his contributions to our knowledge of the microbiology of marine, freshwater, terrestrial, and other environments where microbes are found. One key finding was quorum sensing, the chemical basis for how microbes sense local cell density. He is well known for developing technologies to detect microbial life in unconventional environments, attracting National Aeronautics and Space Administration interest as potentially valuable for life detection on Mars probes. Nealson is a grantee in the DOE Genomes to Life Program. Also being honored is Dr. Gary Olsen of the University of Illinois, who will receive the United States Federation for Culture Collections and J. Roger Porter Award. Olsen has made many fundamental contributions to microbial taxonomy, analyses of microbial diversity, and the use of small RNA sequences to build the presently understood “tree of life” in the microbial world. Olsen is a grantee in the DOE Microbial Genome Program.