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For Immediate Release, May 1, 2007

Gina Hebert, MBL, 508-289-7725; ghebert@mbl.edu


American Society for Microbiology Honors MBL Senior Scientist Mitchell Sogin

MBL, WOODS HOLE, MA—Mitchell L. Sogin, MBL (Marine Biological Laboratory) Senior Scientist and Director of the Josephine Bay Paul Center for Comparative Molecular Biology and Evolution has been selected to receive the American Society for Microbiology's USFCC/J. Roger Porter Award.

The award, which is supported by the United States Federation for Culture Collections (USFCC) and the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), recognizes Sogin for his lifetime contributions to microbial diversity and for his leading-edge work in development of an environmental microbial diversity survey. According to the ASM, Sogin has expanded our understanding of environmental microbiology diversity, particularly microbial eukaryotes, and has maintained public access to computer databases with his ongoing developing research.

"Dr. Sogin has made exemplary contributions in using database and experimental developments to explore and document the expanding molecular view of microbial diversity and to make the beauty of the microbial world available to the public," says his nominator, Dr. Norman Pace, Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Sogin received his M.S. degree in Industrial Microbiology and his Ph.D. degree in Microbiology and Molecular Biology from the University of Illinois, Urbana. He has been a scientist at the MBL since 1989. He founded the Josephine Bay Paul Center for Comparative Molecular Biology and Evolution in 1996. The Center’s interlocking programs in Global Infectious Diseases, Molecular Evolution and Molecular Microbial Diversity seek to understand processes that reshape genome architecture, identify and one day predict the origins and dispersal mechanisms of pathogenecity, and to develop systems level approaches to environmental microbiology. Sogin’s research has changed our perceptions about the age and relationships amongst the major groups of eukaryotes. Using molecular techniques, he has shown that protist diversity dwarfs that of the plant, animal and fungal worlds. Most recently he has initiated a global-wide effort to define microbial diversity in the world’s oceans funded through the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

The USFCC/J. Roger Porter Award will be presented during the 107th General Meeting of the ASM, May 21-May 25, 2007 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. ASM is the world’s oldest and largest life science organization and has more than 43,000 members worldwide. ASM’s mission is to advance the microbiological sciences and promote the use of scientific knowledge for improved health and economic and environmental well being.


The MBL® is a leading international, independent, nonprofit institution dedicated to discovery and to improving the human condition through creative research and education in the biological, biomedical and environmental sciences. Founded in 1888 as the Marine Biological Laboratory, the MBL is the oldest private marine laboratory in the Western Hemisphere. For more information, visit www.MBL.edu