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Superfund Researcher Elected to National Academies

By Rebecca Wilson
March 2010

Lisa Alvarez-Cohen, Ph.D.
In her 2008 Spirit Lecture at NIEHS, Alvarez-Cohen spoke of her NIEHS/SRP-funded work on "Application of Omics-Based Tools and Microarrays to Optimize Bioremediation." At the beginning of her talk (see story(, she said, "I'm incredibly grateful to the Institute for supporting this work." (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

On Feb. 17, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) announced the election of NIEHS grantee (https://www.niehs.nih.gov Lisa Alvarez-Cohen, Ph.D., a researcher in the Superfund Research Program (SRP) at the University of California, Berkeley (UCB), as one of 68 new members. NAE ( NIEHS is one of the prestigious National Academies, and membership is one of the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer.

Alvarez-Cohen ( NIEHS is the Fred and Claire Sauer Professor and chair of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at UCB. She was elected as an NAE member in recognition of her "discovery and application of novel microorganisms and biochemical pathways for microbial degradation of environmental contaminants." Alvarez-Cohen's work in the UC-Berkeley SRP involves genome-enabled approaches to environmental microbiology, such as application of expression microarrays and meta-omics analyses in order to improve bioremediation of Superfund contaminants.

With the new members, NAE membership now includes nearly 2,500 distinguished U.S. and foreign scientists. Academy membership honors individuals who have made outstanding contributions to engineering research, practice, or education or have made major advancements in the field.

(Rebecca Wilson is an environmental health information specialist with MDB, Inc., a contractor for the NIEHS Superfund Research Program and Worker Education and Training Program.)

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