UGA marine scientist Mary Ann Moran named winner of prestigious national award

UGA marine scientist Mary Ann Moran named winner of prestigious national award by American Society of Microbiology

Athens, Ga. – University of Georgia marine microbial ecologist Mary Ann Moran has been named the first recipient of the D.C. White Research and Mentoring Award in honor of a pioneering environmental microbiologist.

The award, given by the American Society of Microbiology, recognizes distinguished accomplishments in interdisciplinary research and mentoring in microbiology and the breadth of these contributions as well as their originality and overall impact.

In addition to a cash prize of $5,000, a commemorative medal and paid travel to the ASM General Meeting, Moran, a distinguished research professor of marine biology in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, will deliver the D.C. White Research and Mentoring Award Lecture.

Moran was chosen to acknowledge her contributions to research leading to paradigm shifts in the fields of marine microbiology and marine biogeochemistry and for her role as an educator of and role model for high school, undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral students.She is recognized by ASM for having created a research environment that allows young scientists to fulfill their potential and excel.

Moran is the first recipient of this award, which was established this year by ASM to honor the late David C. White, an environmental microbiologist from the University of Tennessee who died from injuries following a car accident on October 25, 2006. White was the founding editor of the Journal of Microbiological Methods.

For the past decade, Moran’s research has focused on a particular group of marine bacteria known as Roseobacters for the pink color of some of the cells. Moran’s work, which was awarded a $2.6 million grant from the prestigious Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, is illuminating how these marine bacteria move sulfur from the oceans to the atmosphere, where it plays a role in seeding clouds and regulating the Earth’s climate.

Moran received her bachelor’s degree from Colgate University in 1977, a master’s degree from Cornell in 1982 and a Ph.D. from UGA in 1987.

She is the author of numerous book chapters and articles in peer-reviewed journals on microbial ecology and genomics. In addition to her grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Moran has received several million dollars in research grants from other such groups as the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Moran has won numerous awards, including a Creative Research Medal from UGA. She was named as a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology in 2006 and chair of the U.S.-European Workshop on Microbial Cyberinfrastructure Resources for Microbial Sciences in Washington, D.C., this year.

In addition, Moran teaches and has taught numerous graduate and undergraduate courses during her time at UGA. She began here as a postdoctoral associate in 1988 and became an assistant research microbiologist the following year. She joined the department of marine sciences as an assistant professor in 1993, rising to associate professor in 1998 and professor in 2003.