Martín Tresguerres, a marine biologist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, has been selected to receive the 2014 President’s Medal from the Society for Experimental Biology.
The United Kingdom-based organization bestows the President’s Medal to “early career scientists who have made outstanding contributions to their respective field of animal, cell, and plant biology, and in science education and public affairs.” Tresguerres will receive the award at the society’s annual meeting in Manchester, England, in July.
Tresguerres joined Scripps in 2011 and studies a wide range of organisms, from sharks to corals to one-celled microalgae called diatoms. His interests include the evolutionary relationships between basic cellular functions and complex “whole organism” physiology. A native of Argentina, Tresguerres’s research includes biochemical, molecular, and cell biology, and physiological techniques to elucidate how marine organisms sense and adjust to acid/base disturbances arising from environmental and metabolic stress. Recently, he and his colleagues have been focusing on how these mechanisms may trigger physiological responses to ocean acidification. His studies also include aquaculture, biofuels, drug discovery, and evolution.
The President’s Medal honors young scientists of outstanding merit, typically within 10 years of obtaining their Ph.D. “In order for a person to be awarded a medal, they will be a demonstrable independent researcher or scientist, in the early stage of their career, may be leading their own group already, and have demonstrated those qualities which make them respected by their peers and regarded as a creative and novel thinker,” the Society for Experimental Biology notes in its selection criteria.
Specifically, Tresguerres was selected because he has developed a flourishing research program investigating how organisms sense acid/base conditions, a fundamental biological question for animal physiology that carries wider ramifications for understanding the biological impact of ocean acidification.
“Notably, he has established that the enzyme soluble adenylyl cyclase (sAC), a bicarbonate sensor, is important in aquatic organisms including sharks, bony fishes, and more recently in corals,” noted the President’s Medal selection summary. “His research is providing a link between metabolic and environmental acid/base stress and downstream physiological responses. His work is poised to have a significant impact in comparative and environmental physiology, and will influence the work of other laboratories working in diverse areas.”