Desert Researcher Receives Environmental Award

April 16, 1998

WASHINGTON, D.C. -April 10, 1998-- E. Imre Friedman, Director, Polar Desert Research Center, Department of Biological Science, Florida State University, has been awarded the 1998 Procter and Gamble Award in Applied and Environmental Microbiology. Dr. Friedman is being honored for his 45 years of contributions to microbiology which range in technical diversity from cytology to electron microscopy to physiology to molecular genetics, encompass the ecology and exobiology of microorganisms, and in geographic diversity from North and South America, to the Middle East, Africa and Antarctica.

The award, which is made for the purpose of stimulating research and development in applied microbiology (excluding clinical fields) and environmental microbiology, will be presented at the General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, May 17-21, 1998 in Atlanta, Georgia.

He received his Ph.D. from the University of Vienna, Austria, and spent the next 17 years teaching in Israel and Canada. He started his career at Florida State University in 1968.

Dr. Friedman discovered algal, cyanobacterial, and fungal microbiota of both hot and cold deserts of the world. The discovery expanded what was formerly conceived of as the limits of life on the planet. He discovered that some microbiota were hidden from view under the surficial crusts of porous rocks. Prior to his work, it was commonly thought was that there were no growing microorganisms in the cold and hot deserts of the world.

He works closely with NASA, and the two books on biogeochemistry and microbiology of Antarctica that he edited are major reference pieces for space scientists throughout the world. In recent years, he has been actively engaged in cooperation with NASA in the search for life on Mars. He was nominated by Guenther Stotzky, New York University, New York.

The American Society for Microbiology, headquartered in Washington, D.C., is the oldest and largest single biological membership organization, with over 40,000 members worldwide.

American Society for Microbiology

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