Two professors—one who researches ways to clean up the environment and another who studies how microbial communities interact to shape the planet—have been elected fellows of the American Academy of Microbiology.
Frank Loeffler, Governor’s Chair for Microbiology and Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Steven Wilhelm, Kenneth and Blaire Mossman Professor of Microbiology, will be officially recognized at the academy’s reception in Massachusetts in June.
The American Academy of Microbiology recognizes fellows for their achievements and contributions that have advanced the field of microbiology. The academy is the honorific leadership group within the American Society for Microbiology.
Loeffler is an environmental microbiologist whose research centers on discovering ways to clean the environment, counter the damage humans do to ecosystems, and improve environmental health. He studies how naturally occurring bacteria break down pollutants like chlorinated solvents, radioactive wastes, and greenhouse gases. He holds a joint appointment in the Department of Microbiology and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
Wilhelm is an oceanographer, limnologist, and molecular biologist who studies how microbial communities, including viruses, bacteria, and algae, interact to shape the planet. His research group specializes in large lakes and open ocean fieldwork in combination with state-of-the-art molecular biology and laboratory studies.
Loeffler’s and Wilhelm’s election brings to five the number of microbiology faculty members who have been selected as academy fellows. Others are Jeffrey Becker, Chancellor’s Professor, David and Sandra White Professor, and head of the Department of Microbiology; Terry Hazen, Governor’s Chair for Environmental Biotechnology, who holds a joint appointment in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the Department of Microbiology and the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences; and Gary Sayler, Distinguished Professor and director of the Center for Environmental Biotechnology.