Internationally renowned researcher whose work has created a better understanding of marine ecosystems and the roles of the ocean microbiome, UGA professor Mary Ann Moran has been named Regents’ Professor:
Moran is a Distinguished Research Professor in the marine sciences department, part of the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, who has served on the University of Georgia faculty since 1993. Regents’ Professorships are bestowed by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents on faculty members whose scholarship or creative activity is recognized nationally and internationally as innovative and pacesetting.
Moran’s laboratory investigates the activities of bacteria in the functioning of marine ecosystems, including how microbes interact with organic matter and how bacteria influence global carbon and sulfur cycles. Moran has pioneered the emerging field of environmental transcriptomics, where researchers are assessing the activity of genes in natural systems to provide a comprehensive view of the diversity of coastal microbial communities.
“Dr. Moran’s work is inspirational,” Virginia Armbrust, the Lowell and Frankie Wakefield Professor and director of the School of Oceanography at the University of Washington, wrote in a nomination letter. “It has transformed our view of the microbial world and the impact of these microscopic organisms on global scale processes.”
Moran’s research is supported by grants totaling $6.7 million, including awards from the National Science Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Simons Foundation.
The scale and impact of the ocean microbiome, particularly the sulfur cycle, on the Earth's health and resilience in the face of climate change is one of the more complex and elucidating research questions in all of science. It involves collection and investigation of the millions of micro-organisms present in sea water, which act similarly tot he microbes int he human gut. Moran's efforts to push our understanding forward are already having a great effect on other scientists and funding organizations to join this challenge. Congratulations on this new appointment to one of our very best.