Campus News Science & Technology

Westpheling named Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar

Janet Westpheling, center, working with undergraduate students. (Photo by Dorothy Kozlowski/UGA)

Janet Westpheling, professor of genetics in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences department of genetics, has been selected for the Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Program. Since 1956, the program has been offering undergraduates the opportunity to spend time with some of America’s most distinguished scholars.

Westpheling teaches undergraduate and graduate classes in genetics and trains undergraduates, graduate students and postdoctoral associates in her research laboratory. Her current research is focused on the development of genetic technologies for microorganisms that convert lignocellulosic biomass to biofuels and industrial chemicals and is funded by grants from the Department of Energy.

Current president of the Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology, Westpheling holds patents for microbial genetic technologies and is an active consultant to industries involved in the metabolic engineering of microorganisms for the production of fuels, chemicals and pharmaceuticals.

During the 2020–2021 academic year, the Visiting Scholars will travel to over 100 colleges and universities that have chapters of Phi Beta Kappa, spending two days at each one and taking full part in the academic life of the institution.

During the two-day visit, the scholar will give a general lecture that is free and open to the public, take part in class and seminar discussions, and meet informally with students and faculty.

The Visiting Scholars are invited to make visits in response to requests from the Phi Beta Kappa chapters.