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Rita Colwell Awarded 2006 National Medal of Science

September 1, 2007

 

AIBS congratulates Rita R. Colwell, AIBS president-elect, who was recently awarded the 2006 National Medal of Science. President George W. Bush presented the nation’s highest honor for scientists to Colwell and seven fellow recipients at a special White House ceremony on 27 July 2007.

The award recognizes Colwell “for her in-depth research that has contributed to a greater understanding of the ecology, physiology, and evolution of marine microbes, most notably Vibrio cholerae, the causative agent of pandemic cholera, and which has elucidated critical links between environmental and human health.” Colwell’s efforts have led to actions that significantly improved drinking water quality and reduced the number of deaths in cholera-affected regions of the word, including Bangladesh and India.

Regarding the prestigious award, Colwell remarked, “It is a very much appreciated affirmation of my research on marine microorganisms, including Vibrio cholerae and related vibrios, over the past 20 years.”

Colwell is currently a Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland at College Park and at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, and a senior advisor for Canon US Life Sciences, Inc. From 1998 to 2004, she served as the 11th director of the National Science Foundation. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and she received the Order of the Rising Sun award from the Emperor of Japan.

In 2008, Colwell will begin her term as president of AIBS. She is also the program chair of the 2008 AIBS annual meeting, “Climate, Environment, and Infectious Disease,” which will be held 12–13 May 2008 in Washington, DC.

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