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Microbiology in the News

Lloyd, Zinser Honored at Annual Faculty Awards Banquet

Lloyd, Zinser Honored at Annual Faculty Awards Banquet

Each year, faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences are recognized for their contributions to the college, the university, and the impact of their teaching and research at the annual faculty awards dinner. Two members of the Department of Microbiology received awards at this year’s event, which took place Thursday, December 1, 2016.

The Excellence in Research/Creative Achievement awards recognize faculty excellence in research and creative achievement at three levels: the early career, midcareer, and senior career. Karen Lloyd, assistant professor, received an early career research award for her use of innovative techniques to investigate the identities, growth, and activities of microbes that are specially adapted to sediment environments, which makes them challenging to study. Revealing their secrets is critical, since by sheer numbers they are perhaps the most abundant organisms on the planet, with a significant impact on the Earth's ecosystems. Professor Lloyd's research on Arctic Ocean marine sediments is helping to understand the fate of these communities in response to climate change, and the consequences this will have on global carbon cycles. Lloyd has discovered that the sea floor harbors vast numbers of novel microbes that may take hundreds of years to reproduce and whose activities are as yet completely unknown. Lloyd has authored 17 journal articles and has garnered $1.6 million in funding from competitive awards including from the NSF, the Simons and Sloan Foundations, and the National Academy of Sciences.

The Excellence in Teaching awards recognize faculty members’ excellence in teaching at the lecturer, junior, and senior level. Erik Zinser received a senior-level award at this year’s banquet. Zinser’s work shows us that devotion to one course can profoundly transform students as scientists no matter what their profession goals are. His nominator describes his course, Micro 410 Microbial Physiology, as “... one of the most innovative courses our campus has to offer.” He started teaching a traditional version, but then completely transformed it into an interactive learning experience formed around groups of students “building” a microbe based on guidelines provided by Zinser. The course culminates in a public poster session, where the groups share their creations with each other.

Congratulations to our award winners for their achievements.

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