Regents’ Medal for Excellence in Research
Research Medal Award Winner
Margaret McFall-Ngai and Edward Ruby have been working on separate but complementary aspects of their joint interest—the detailed elucidation of a complex symbiotic relationship between marine organisms. Their recent joint work at the Pacific Biomedical Research Center’s Kewalo Marine Laboratory targets a relationship between a luminous marine bacterium and a Hawaiian squid.
McFall-Ngai and Ruby have created break-through research in the field of bacterial-animal associations. Rubys expertise is in molecular bacterial genetics, with a unique background and training in biology of marine bacteria. McFall-Ngai’s expertise is in invertibrate zoology, marine biology, symbiosis and protein chemistry.
Increasing recognition of the importance of benign microbial associations to all animals and plant species has resulted in a new field that integrates host-microbe interactions into biology as a whole. McFall-Ngai wrote a landmark review in the journal Development Biology. At the request of the National Institutes of Health, she and Ruby organized a workshop on beneficial microbial interactions. These scientists have opened this emerging field and encouraged the development of other animal-bacteria models that will expand its breadth and impact.
The professional publications of McFall-Ngai and Ruby total well over 100 titles, many appearing in some of the most prestigious journals—Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Journal of Bacteriology and Developmental Biology.
In addition, their research has attracted substantial extramural grant funding. Current grants from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health and the Keck Foundation total $6 million.
The Regents’ Medal for Excellence in Research is awarded by the Board of Regents in recognition of scholarly contributions that expand the boundaries of knowledge and enrich the lives of students and the community. The board also awards the Regents’ Medal for Excellence in Teaching.
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Geophysics and planetology
Civil and environmental engineering