Campus News

Mary Ann Moran receives SEC Faculty Achievement Award

Mary Ann Moran

Distinguished Research Professor Mary Ann Moran has earned a number of honors over the course of her career. The latest is being named the University of Georgia’s recipient of the 2018 Southeastern Conference Faculty Achievement Award.

The SEC award, which is administered by provosts at the 14 universities in the conference, recognizes professors with outstanding records in teaching and scholarship who serve as role models for students and other faculty members. Winners receive a $5,000 honorarium.

Earlier this spring Moran, who joined the faculty of the department of marine sciences in the Franklin Colleges of Arts and Sciences in 1993, was named Regents’ Professor, an honor bestowed by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia on faculty members whose scholarship or creative activity is recognized nationally and internationally as innovative and pacesetting.

“Dr. Moran has developed an extraordinary national and international reputation for her far-reaching scientific contributions,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “She also is an outstanding faculty colleague and academic leader, and I congratulate her on this latest accomplishment.”

Moran conducts path-breaking research that has created a better understanding of marine ecosystems and the roles of the ocean microbiome, including how microbes interact with organic matter and influence climactically active gases in the ocean. Her work combines three complementary approaches: biogeochemistry, microbiology and molecular biology.

She has led teams of researchers who have accomplished a number of notable firsts: the first to sequence the genome of a heterotrophic marine bacterium, the first to use metagenomic sequencing to measure bacterial community response to environmental perturbations and the first to analyze gene expression patterns in microbial communities by direct sequencing of environmental mRNA. This last accomplishment has led to the emerging field of environmental transcriptomics, which measures the activity of genes in natural systems to provide a comprehensive view of the functional diversity of microbial communities.

Moran, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the American Academy of Microbiology, has served as principal investigator or co-principal investigator for grants totaling $16.7 million over the past decade. The results of her research have been reported in more than 160 refereed journal publications.

Moran is ranked in the top 2.5 percent of all scientists publishing in major journals, according to ResearchGate. Her expertise is sought after at international scientific conferences and events, including more than 30 invited presentations in the past six years.

“She is an international leader in the field, a true innovator, and a role model for women and young scientists worldwide,” Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Edward DeLong, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, wrote in a nomination letter for Moran’s Regents’ Professorship, which is effective July 1.

Moran teaches several undergraduate and graduate courses at UGA in microbial ecology, marine ecological genomics and marine biology. In the past decade, she has mentored and advised 11 doctoral students, 12 postdoctoral fellows, 11 undergraduate researchers and 21 high school students, as well as local high school teachers who have gained experience in her lab.

“In addition to being an innovative scientist, Dr. Moran is a dedicated educator and mentor,” said Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Pamela Whitten. “She brings students—from high school all the way to the doctoral level—alongside her to the vanguard of discovery.”

More information about the SEC Faculty Achievement Awards is online.