Biology professor elected Fellow of American Academy of Microbiology02/05/2019
Dr. Hazel Barton, biology professor and director of UA’s Integrated Bioscience Program, is among the 109 newly elected Fellows of the American Academy of Microbiology (AAM) for 2019.
Fellows of the AAM, an honorific leadership group within the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), are elected annually through a highly selective, peer-review process, based on their records of scientific achievement and original contributions that have advanced microbiology.
Barton joins the more than 2,400 Fellows in the AAM, worldwide leaders in the microbial sciences who work in basic and applied research, teaching, public health, industry and government services.
“It’s a very strange feeling – all these amazing scientists that you look up to, and you don’t even realize that they’re aware of the science you’re doing,” Barton says. “Then one day, they give you this remarkable recognition for it. It’s an amazing feeling, the realization that your work has made a difference.”
Barton studies microbial interactions and adaptations to nutrient-limitation in deep subsurface cave environments. She points out that cave microbiology is an important but once-neglected science.
“When I started doing cave microbiology 15 years ago, there was very little recognition of it as a science – people thought we were going into caves for the fun of it, not for the science,” she says. “But caves are unique ecosystems with remarkable microbial diversity. The processes that underlie this diversity help us understand some of the most basic principles in the evolution of microbes … and I’ve always strived to put that science front and center, so people don’t see this as a hobby science.”
Barton is only the second member of the National Speleological Society – an organization dedicated to the exploration, study and understanding of caves in the U.S. – to be elected to Fellowship in the AAM.
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Dr. Hazel Barton