The 2010 American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Procter & Gamble Award in Applied and Environmental Microbiology is being presented to Caroline S. Harwood, Ph.D., Gerald and Lyn Grinstein Professor of Microbiology, The University of Washington, Seattle, for being a leader in biodegradation. This award recognizes distinguished achievement in research and development in applied and environmental microbiology.
Harwood is internationally recognized for her discovery and characterization of the genes and enzymes in the pathway used for photosynthetic bacteria for the degradation of lignin components. The pathway discovered by Harwood is known to be the major route used by all anaerobic organisms for the degradation of aromatic compounds. It plays a major role in the degradation of environmental pollutants and the redistribution of carbon in nature. She led the genome sequencing effort on the photosynthetic bacterium, Rhodopseudomonas palustris and followed this with work on the development of a light-driven nitrogenase process for the production of hydrogen as a non-polluting energy source. Additionally, her lab was the first to establish the critical role that chemotaxis plays in the aerobic biodegradation of a wide range of aromatic environmental pollutants.
Currently, Harwood is working on biodegradation and signal transduction with the identification of a novel p-coumaroyl-homoserine lactone that accelerates the biodegradation of lignin compounds. This work in quorum sensing introduced the concept of interspecies signal transduction and places Harwood at the forefront of biodegradation, signal transduction, and biofuel research.
|Contact: Garth Hogan|
American Society for Microbiology