American Society for Microbiology to Honor Scripps, Claude ZoBell

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During his pioneering research career at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, Claude ZoBell laid a scientific foundation that would shape the field of marine microbiology.

The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) will honor ZoBell's accomplishments as part of its week-long 110th general meeting in San Diego. On Saturday, May 22, at noon in Scripps Oceanography's Sumner Auditorium, the ASM will designate Scripps a "Milestones in Microbiology" site and provide Scripps with a plaque honoring ZoBell, who died in 1989 at the age of 84, and Scripps. (Sumner Auditorium is located at 8602 La Jolla Shores Drive in La Jolla, Calif., one-half block north of El Paseo Grande). ASM President Roberto Kolter will present the plaque to Scripps Director Tony Haymet.

The event is free and open to the public.

Also during the event, Scripps Professor Emeritus Art Yayanos will speak about Claude ZoBell's research and Scripps Professor Farooq Azam will discuss the current state of marine microbiology. Members of ZoBell's family, ASM representatives, local microbiologists and Scripps alumni will attend the event.

"There are only three other Milestones in Microbiology locations around the country and so this is a highly notable recognition of the contributions of Claude ZoBell and others at Scripps to the field of marine microbiology," said Scripps Professor Doug Bartlett. "I myself have spent countless enjoyable hours reading over Claude's contributions to microbial community development on solid surfaces and his work collecting microbes from great seawater depths."

Also, from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. and from 1:30-4 p.m. inside Sumner Auditorium, the San Diego Microbiology Group will host its annual meeting, which features a series of oral and poster presentations by local microbiologists working at Scripps Oceanography and elsewhere in Southern California in academia and in industry.

Scripps has been a pioneer in researching deep-ocean life for more than 50 years. ZoBell collected the first bacteria brought back alive from the extreme ocean depths present in ocean trenches. He published nearly 300 scientific papers and, in 1976, founded the international Geomicrobiology Journal.

"ZoBell's work is very important because his work always involved the design and construction of novel equipment for research, and the development of media for cultivation," wrote Tim Gough in "The Life, Work and Scientific Contributions of Claude E. ZoBell." "One of ZoBell's Ph.D. students, Richard Morita, said that ZoBell's greatest achievement was 'laying the foundation for all marine microbiology.'"

The ASM's Milestones in Microbiology Program was designed to recognize institutions and the scientists who worked there that have made significant contributions toward advancing the science of microbiology. By placing explanatory plaques at these sites, the ASM hopes to increase professional and public recognition of the significance of the science of microbiology. The plaque will be affixed to Hubbs Hall, site of ZoBell's laboratory.

The American Society for Microbiology is the largest single life science association, with 42,000 members worldwide. Its members work in educational, research, industrial, and government settings on issues such as the environment, the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases, laboratory and diagnostic medicine and food and water safety. The ASM's mission is to gain a better understanding of basic life processes and to promote the application of this knowledge for improved health and economic and environmental well-being.

The ASM's general meeting will include nearly 15,000 microbiologists from around the world and cover topics spanning genetics, clinical microbiology, food, animal health and many more themes.

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