We have many things to celebrate! First, congratulations to USC graduate student Gus Ramirez for successfully defending his Ph.D. thesis; he now embarks on a C-DEBI Postdoctoral Fellowship with Steve D’Hondt at URI. Congratulations also to C-DEBI Senior Scientist Steve Finkel, who will receive the American Society for Microbiology’s 2017 William A. Hinton Research Training Award for outstanding contributions toward fostering the research training of underrepresented minorities in microbiology. Steve’s GGURE undergraduate research internship program is one of C-DEBI’s flagship STEM-retention programs.
We are also extraordinarily proud of C-DEBI Senior Scientist Victoria Orphan, recipient of a 2016 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship*. The 5-year “genius grant” is meant to encourage creative scientists, artists and other thinkers who are pushing the boundaries of their fields. Victoria is certainly doing that for C-DEBI. A true Californian, she spent her childhood in San Diego, received undergraduate and graduate degrees from UC Santa Barbara, did a stint at NASA Ames in Mountain View, and since 2004 has been on the faculty at Caltech—“Victoria, do you realize there are 49 other states and, according to the United Nations, 192 other countries?” She is a role model for all of us who do interdisciplinary science; she brilliantly combines field- and lab-based research with method development and state-of-the-art analytical approaches, inspiring junior scientists and the ‘more experienced’ among us along the way.